Justin Ontong’s 25th first-class century was amongst the three best tons he has ever produced, he admitted, but it meant much, much more because it contributed to the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ emphatic nine wicket win against the defending champions, the Multiply Titans, at SuperSport Park in Centurion in the Sunfoil Series match.
“If we drew this match, our Sunfoil Series campaign was over, but because of this win, we are still in the run. Our next game is against the log leaders, the VKB Knights, and we are eager to make a statement in that four day match too,” Ontong said.
Ontong spent 342 minutes at the crease, faced 206 balls and struck 13 fours in his excellent 110. He also was the mainstay in what turned out to be a match-winning partnership with Jason Smith which yielded 148 runs in the first innings, as the Cobras finished with 326 for nine and created a first innings lead of 131 runs.
The Multiply Titans managed 168 in the second innings and the Buildnat Cape Cobras cantered to 41 for one and a comprehensive nine wicket victory.
“It was really a tricky wicket to bat on, because there was some grass on it, the ball was nipping off the seam and also swinging in overcast conditions. It was extremely important for me to leave very, very well, even if that meant that a few deliveries just missed the off stump.“Jason and I played and missed, but I spoke to him and encouraged him. I told him that it is a pivotal partnership and he maybe had to curb his natural instinctive aggression, but it was a very important knock by Smith,” Ontong said.
“I decided that I would force the attack to bowl at me, instead of playing outside the off stump and get nicked off. I tried to play with the full face of the blade and hit it between mid-off and mid-on or through mid-wicket,” Ontong said.
Rory Kleinveldt, who captured 5-45 in the second innings, was the spearhead in the bowling attack. “He kept the ball in the right areas and knew that there would be nip off the seam. His experience was a key factor.
“It was important for us that the senior players stood up and that was what Rory and I did.
“The support bowling by the younger bowlers like Tshepo Moreki, Jason and Lizaad Williams was absolutely outstanding. They just followed Rory’s example,” he said.
Ontong is firm in his belief that the Buildnat Cape Cobras are not out of the title hunt, and that victories against the VKB Knights and the Hollywoodbets Dolphins could get them close to the summit of the log.