Port Elizabeth – Stiaan van Zyl and Andrew Puttick scored fifties before the Cape Cobrasâ€™ spinners stifled the Warriors to claim a 10-run win in their MiWAY T20 Challenge match at St Georgeâ€™s on Wednesday.
Van Zyl scored 58 while Puttick contributed 55 to help the defending champion Cobras to 155 for five after being asked to bat.
The Warriors, in reply, could muster only 145 for seven as the Cobrasâ€™ spinners took a combined five for 68 off nine overs.
Off-spinners Yaseen Vallie and Dane Piedt captured 2-28 and 1-15 respectively while leg-spinner Alistair Gray chipped in with 2-25 as the Warriors battled to get to grips with a pitch which became slower and lower as the match wore on.
Cobras wicketkeeper Mark Boucher enjoyed a good night behind the stumps as he pulled off three stumpings.
Opening batsman Van Zyl was in devastating form as he thrashed two fours and four sixes during his 41-ball knock.
Puttick was slightly more sedate and he scored at a run-a-ball for most of his innings and he brought up his fifty off 48 balls before being bowled by medium-pacer Kelly Smuts after facing 52 deliveries with two fours and two sixes.
The left-handed Van Zyl dominated the opening stand of 99 off 12.4 overs he shared with Puttick as the 24-year-old Van Zyl assumed the role of enforcer and he bashed his way to his maiden T20 fifty off 35 balls.
Van Zyl finally departed when he took on the deep midwicket fence once too often and was caught by Jon-Jon Smuts off a delivery from left-arm spinner Nicky Boje.
Owais Shah (6) did not last long before being caught at long on off a delivery from medium-pacer Kelly Smuts before Puttick departed to leave the Cobras on 137 for three in the 18th over.
Makhaya Ntini then took centre stage as he claimed two wickets in the space of six balls when he caught and bowled Mark Boucher (9), after the batsman had skied an attempted drive, and Dane Vilas (3) feathered a faint edge through to keeper Arno Jacobs.
Vernon Philander (14 not out) provided the innings with some late impetus as he struck two consecutive sixes off the bowling of seamer Lyall Meyer in the last over.
Ntini finished with 2-19 off four overs while Kelly Smuts picked up 2-19 off two overs.
The Warriorsâ€™ innings never really got going as they struggled to 82 for four in the 13th over with Jon-Jon Smuts (8), Ashwell Prince (23), Boje (13) and Justin Kreusch (25) departing at regular intervals.
Kelly Smuts, with 26 off 14 balls, and Craig Thyssen, with 16 off 15 balls, looked to have kept the Warriors in the match but the left-handed Smuts was out thanks to a fine tumbling catch at deep extra cover by Dane Vilas off the bowling of Vallie.
The Warriors began the penultimate over needing 22 runs to win but the big-hitting Thyssen holed out to long-off off the bowling of seamer Philander as the Warriorsâ€™ challenge faded away.