Ontong blasts Cobras home

Justin Ontong (Gallo Images)
Justin Ontong (Gallo Images)
Paarl - Justin Ontong hit form in spectacular fashion on Sunday as he led the Cape Cobras to a crucial four-wicket victory over the Titans at Boland Park in another One-Day Cup match that went to the very last over.

Ontong had previously failed to contribute with the bat this season, but picked his moment perfectly as his 97 from just 66 balls allowed the Cobras to take four points off their closest rivals for a play-off berth.

The Cobras skipper came to the crease with his side requiring 173 runs in just 22 overs in their chase of 286, after the top order had been guilty of building pressure on their team mates by throwing away decent starts.

Ontong shared in the key partnership of the match with Justin Kemp (36), and did the major hitting as they added 101 runs in 12.1 overs to put the Cobras back in the match.

Crucially, Ontong took 19 runs off the penultimate over from David Wiese to leave just four required. Although he was then trapped lbw when Marchant de Lange started the final over, Shaheen Khan and Dane Piedt finished the job with three balls to spare.

The Titans’ innings of 285 for seven was built on a patient 80 from captain Henry Davids and a 108-run stand in 12 overs between Farhaan Behardien (89) and wicketkeeper-batsman Mangaliso Mosehle (62).

Crucial to the Cobras’ ability to restrict the Titans to a sub-300 score, however, was the early wickets they picked up. The visitors were reduced to 67 for three, which ensured that Davids spent a large portion of his innings providing a stabilising touch rather than playing expansively.

Lizaad Williams picked up one of those early wickets and then dismissed Mosehle and Wiese in the final over of the innings to finish with handy figures of 3 for 41 from nine overs.

Victory allowed the Cobras to consolidate third spot on the table - they now have 16 points from six matches, while the Titans have 11.

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