Puttick stars in Cobras emphatic win
by Rohit Sakunia

Scorecard:Cape Cobras v Otago
Player:AG Puttick, JL Ontong, BB McCullum, NL McCullum
Event:Champions League 2009/10

DateLine: 10th October 2009


If Jean Paul Duminy was the only brownie point the Cape Cobras scored in their win against the Royal Challenger in the opening match of the CL T20, today they proved that alongside the New South Wales outfit they are also running as the favourites to lift the coveted title.


They did everything right from the word go. Batted with utmost disdain, their skipper led from the front in that department and then they fielded and bowled like a South African outfit on a mission. They went on to thrash the Otago Volts, a team boasting of seven New Zealand regulars by 54 runs.


Chasing a mammoth 194 for an improbable victory, the Volts started in electric fashion. Boundaries started to come regularly on the placid track and it seemed the game could go much more closer than most anticipated after the first innings. Both Brendon McCullum and Aoron Redmond, regulars in the New Zealand 11 looked dangerous to start off. But Cobras who were pathetic on the field the other day, turned their efforts diametrically on the head as both the openers became the victim of some splendid work on the outfield, courtesy a fielder who was the biggest culprit on the field against the Royal Challengers in the tournament opener.


Redmond was the first to fall, via a spectacular diving catch by Henry Davids, someone who missed a sitter the other day and then the same fielder came up with a stunning throw from the third-men region to get rid of a settling Brendon McCullum. Wickets started to fell in regular intervals and as soon as the 11th over, half of the Volts batting attack was back in the hut with just 79 on the board, three of these as run-outs.


But the Black Caps as they have always been, denied to go down without a fight. Nathan McCullum took up his the mantle on himself and started to smack the ball all over the park. Ontong got a taste of his own medicine as his two overs were taken for 27 runs. Puttick had to bring in seamer Rory Kleinveldt who was also welcomed by a massive six of his first ball. He struck immediately though as McCullum found the short fine-leg in his bid to clear him.


Thereafter the Volts tail did not wag much and the Cobras pretty easily finished the formalities. They are now sitting pretty at the top of Group-C with four points.


Earlier in the evening, the Champions League caravan moved to Hyderabad where Otago, led by Craig Cumming, won the toss and elected to bowl against South African champions Cape Cobras. The Cobras started with a bang and skipper Andrew Puttick made his intentions clear from the word go. He hit two boundaries in the first over, the first off a slashed edge at third man and the second, a supreme pull in the square leg region.


The pitch started to show signs of another brilliant batting surface but Herschelle Gibbs as in the last game again failed to impress. Dimitri Mascarenhas bowled a short of length delivery bouncing in towards the off and middle. Gibbs tried to swat it across the line and got a thin edge, which the keeper collected on the rebound. This was probably the only good moment for the Volts as the over, alongside the wicket also turned out to be a maiden.


But then the Cobras didn't take long to realise that there was no demon on the track. Otago had an inexperienced bowling attack and the Cobras took full advantage of that. Puttick kept on hitting the powerful boundaries and relied more on power rather than timing. With the wicket turning out to be beauty, the pair of Puttick and last match hero JP Duminy scored runs at will and unsettled all the bowlers by their abilities to use the crease to full effect. Length deliveries were hit down the ground and Nathan McCullum's little tweakers were slogged. Puttick hit a four down to deep midwicket to bring up his fifty and then continued to scale further heights.


Considering the man was not even in the squad during the initial announcement, his smiles with each boundary just indicated how happy he was batting on a beauty. He brought up his three figure score squeezing a full delivery by Wagner for boundary to the third man.


Meanwhile Duminy and Rory Kleinveldt fell trying to clear the ropes. If that was a little relief for the Volts, Ontong came out and smashed a magnificent 39 off just 14 deliveries. He was treated by full deliveries which he took full toll off. He slogged the seamers as if the seamers were there to be hit. His innings and Puttick's ton made sure Otago spilled 121 runs in the last 10 overs. The innings was ended by Ontong with a six over long-on off Butler.


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