A dream debut by West Indian Kieron Pollard helped seal an dramatic comeback win as the Nashua Cape Cobras sealed a 14-run win over The Unlimited Titans in the second Ram Slam T20 Challenge match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Pollard scored an unbeaten 72 from 36 balls as the Cobras posted 207 for five and then claimed 3-23 in his fours overs as the Titans ended on 193 for four in reply. The West Indian international smashed six boundaries and four maximums while sharing in two significant partnerships for the fifth and sixth wickets after the Cobras had lost their way somewhat when Richard Levi departed. Levi gave the Cobras a great platform by blasting seven boundaries and seven sixes during his 34-ball innings of 81 before being caught and bowled by Dean Elgar, who was the Titans’ most successful bowler. Levi shared in a second wicket stand of 78 off 32 balls with Omphile Ramela (12) after the in-form Andrew Puttick (one) was well caught in the covers by Graeme van Buuren off the bowling of JP de Villiers (3-0-40-2).
The Titans began their chase brilliantly and were looking odds-on favourites to win the encounter in great style as Henry Davids and Dean Elgar posted an opening stand of 151 off 96 balls. The Cobras bowlers’ seemed unable to find a way to break the opening stand as Ontong brought himself on to bowl. The Cobras’ captain conceded 12 runs in his first over and then had Davids caught, but on review, his front foot was a hairs-breadth over the line and it seemed that this was a day that all the luck would go the way of the Titans.
Enter Pollard! Elgar tried to drive a slower ball down the ground but only managed to loft it to Ontong, who came running in off the long-on boundary. Elgar departed for 72 off 48 balls with only two boundaries but five maximums. Pollard then exacted revenge by having Davids caught behind by Vilas in his next over, but not after Davids had hit eight boundaries and two sixes.
Three balls later Pollard dismissed his West Indian teammate, Darren Sammy (one), when Mthokozosi Shezi took a great catch, diving to his right at short fine leg. Theunis De Bruyn (13) then departed in the penultimate over, well caught by George Linde who took the catch with the ball coming over his shoulder off Dane Paterson (1-26).
The Titans needed 26 runs off the final over and Williams made up for his earlier error by conceding just 12 runs off the final over as the Cobras clinched an unlikely victory.