Members of the Cape Cobras team are seen consoling Jonathan Carter of the Barbados Tridents after the latter lost in the super over in their clash against the Cobras © PTI
Members of the Cape Cobras team are seen consoling Jonathan Carter of the Barbados Tridents after the latter lost in the super over in their clash against the Cobras © PTI

By Freddie Wilde

 

Sep 29, 2014

 

The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) sealed their position at the top of Group B with a convincing seven wicket victory over the knocked out Cape Cobras in Mohali on Sunday. The KXIP now move to Hyderabad from their base in Mohali where they will meet either the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) or the Lahore Lions.

 

Meanwhile the seven wicket defeat ends the Cobras campaign in which they registered a single Super Over victory over the Barbados Tridents. The Cobras were massively set back by the absence of four crucial players: Dale Steyn (rested by Cricket South Africa), Jacques Kallis (opted to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders) JP Duminy and Beuran Hendricks (both through injury).

 

Losing such an integral quartet before the Champions League had even begun savaged any real expectations on the Cobras who had they had all four present would be possessive of arguably the strongest non-IPL squad in the tournament. Indeed, even without the foursome, the Cobras squad was one packed with international experience and genuine quality, however their squad did lack depth having lost four such important players.

 

The young trio of Aviwe Mgijima, Zakhele Qwabe and Omphile Ramela didn’t give the Cobras many options outside the obvious selections and such narrow options were evident when the South African side were faced with genuine quality such as the Kings XI Punjab and the Northern Knights—the latter of whom racked up over 200 batting first.

 

Despite possessing one of the better set of local players, the Cobras, like the Barbados Tridents whose semi-final hopes were ended earlier in the day, they just couldn’t recover from the loss of key individuals.

 

The Kings XI Punjab meanwhile have now won all of their group matches and move into the semi-final stage with their favourites tag still well and truly intact.

 

Their likely semi-final opponents will be the CSK who also like the Kings XI, massively prefer to field first and with their immense batting firepower, chase totals. If the two Indian heavyweights do meet, one of the two sides will have their strategy thrown off kilter as soon as the toss is held. The Lahore Lions, meanwhile are perhaps more averse to chasing and may prefer to defend a total with their strong bowling attack.

 

The Kings XI have batted first once in the tournament, piling on 215 against the Northern Knights before a combination of excellent bowling and more pertinently perhaps, score board pressure combined to roll the Knights out for just 95. Indeed, it seems either way, in or out of their comfort zone, the Kings XI Punjab look very strong and very formidable. Their opponents will have to hope taking them away from their home in Mohali and to Hyderabad will thrown them off kilter.

 

Brief scores:

 

Cape Cobras 135 in 18.2 overs (Richard Levi 42, Hashim Amla 40; Anureet Singh 3 for 12; Akshar Patel 3 for 15)  lost to Kings XI Punjab 139 for 3 in 18.1 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 42*,Robin Peterseon 2 for 19) by 7 wickets.

 

Man of the Match: Akshar Patel.

 

Full Scorecard

 

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

 

(Freddie Wilde is a freelance cricket writer. You can follow him @fwildecricket)