Gihahn Cloete’s century lit up the opening match of the 2018/19 Momentum One-Day Cup after it helped the Warriors secure an upset three-wicket win over the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl, Western Cape on Friday.
There was also an invaluable half-century by rising young teenage star Sinethemba Qeshile after he struck a critical 54 off 56 balls (4 fours) that helped carry the defending champions over the line in their pursuit of 277.
They got there with one ball to spare in the end, but only after making heavy weather of a chase that began with left-hander Cloete, who made 110 (127 balls, 11 fours), and Matthew Breetzke (57 off 71 balls, 7 fours) handing them a flying start of 110 for the opening wicket.
The match was the first of the 50-over season after the 4-Day Domestic Series concluded last Friday.
And those who turned up for the game were provided plenty of entertainment from both sides as the Cobras initially did well to post 276 for six, thanks to an entertaining career-best 84 from another big prospect for South African cricket, Kyle Verreynne.
The 21-year-old struck one six and five fours in his 76-ball innings to marshal the middle order after contributions of 54 (60 balls, 6 fours) from Pieter Malan and 49 by Zubayr Hamza at the top.
There were also starts for Janneman Malan (23), Isaac Dikgale (22) and George Linde (23 not out), with recently capped Standard Bank Proteas Lutho Sipamla the pick of the bowlers with three for 50.
Cloete’s third career 50-over ton then led the response for the visitors, who shared the title with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins last year, as they cruised along for the bulk of the chase to reach 207 for two in the 42nd over.
But Jason Smith grabbed three for 46 to send some panic to the Warriors’ dugout.
However, 19-year-old Qeshile kept his cool with a composed innings that took his side to the brink, with Sisanda Magala (nine not out) striking a critical boundary to secure the win.