WAYNE PARNELL struck a century as the BuildNat Cape Cobras began life under Ashwell Prince by breaking their Sunfoil Series duck with a six-wicket victory over the bizhub Highveld Lions late on the final day of their clash at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn on Sunday.
The Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder finished unbeaten on 103 (131 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) enabling the hosts to chase down their 237-run victory target with less than three overs to go.
Stiaan van Zyl also played a key role with his brisk 64 (65 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) as the Cape side finally managed a four-day win in 2016/17 – in what was their sixth match of the term.
Their poor results had lead to a change in a management and former Proteas batsman Prince appears to have made an immediate impact, inspiring his team to a victory at a venue that was hosting its first franchise match ever.
But the Lions can be credited for putting up a brave showing on the final day, with their last three wickets adding 149 that gave them a fighting chance.
Having resumed day four on 247/7, Bjorn Fortuin proved the anchor with his 72 (179 balls, 7 fours) as he shared in stands of 39, 79 and 31 with Wiaan Mulder (25), Hardus Viljoen (46) and Aaron Phangiso (8 not out) respectively.
That left the hosts 46 overs to get to their winning target and they were given a strong enough start of 74 in 14.3 overs by Omphile Ramela (36) and Parnell.
Then came the key second wicket stand of 125 that put the Cobras on course for victory, with the runs from Van Zyl and Parnell scored at 5.39 to the over.
Despite three wickets in the closing six overs, the hard work was already done, allowing the host to take a full haul of 17.46 points for the win.
They remained bottom of the standings, but now within 10 points of the Lions (54.14) and just over 20 behind the top of the table Multiply Titans (64.74).