Cape Town - There was heartbreak for the Cape Cobras after a defiant final-day display by the Dolphins batsmen – coupled with the bizhub Highveld Lions winning – led to them missing out on the 4-Day Domestic Series title in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
The men from Cape Town had to match what happened between the only side that could catch them and the Warriors in Potchefstroom, but they fell short after half-centuries by Michael Erlank, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo and Marques Ackerman saw the hosts bat out the final day.
There was little help from the final day pitch and the KwaZulu-Natal heat, meaning Ashwell Prince’s side, who led the standings for almost the entire first-class season, had to settle for second spot after the Lions claimed a dramatic late win in the North West.
The draw for the Dolphins, meanwhile, ensured they avoided ending the campaign with the wooden spoon after they were propelled to fifth by the result, condemning defending champions the Titans to last spot.
This thanks to strong efforts by their top four that helped them amass 358 for two at the City Oval.
The home side started day four on 66 for none and still trailing the visitors by a substantial 147. Openers Erlank and Van Jaarsveld knocked most of those runs off during an opening stand that was eventually worth 169 that reduced the deficit to 44.
The former, playing just his second game for the franchise, made 85 (147 balls, 13 fours, 1 six), while the latter struck 79 (110 balls, 8 fours, 3 sixes).
Both fell on the same score, with a massive 189-run third-wicket partnership then completely deflating the Cobras.
The stand was between captain Zondo, who amassed an unbeaten 88 (137 balls, 11 fours), and rookie Ackerman after he top-scored with 89 not out (128 balls. 12 fours).
The Cape side tried everything in their bid to claim victory, including tossing the ball to Proteas batsman Zubayr Hamza, star opener Pieter Malan and the unfamiliar face of David Bedingham, but nothing worked.
And with the game heading nowhere, Zondo and counterpart Dane Piedt decided to shake hands shortly before tea, ending the four-day season in KwaZulu-Natal.