World Sports Betting Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince confirmed that Proteas batsman Hashim Amla will be available for at least the opening matches of the CSA T20 Challenge which gets underway this weekend.

 The Cobras head to Gauteng to face the bizhub Highveld Lions at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday and then take on the Multiply Titans in Benoni on Wednesday.

 “I still think there is a place for someone to bat through the innings and he (Amla) is well capable of doing that. If he bats through the innings at 120-130 strike rate, it allows other natural ball strikers to play their game around him.”

 Prince also confirmed that JP Duminy will not be available for the opening part of the tournament as he undergoes strengthening of his shoulder as per CSA’s request.

 

A career-best and franchise record six for 19 by Junior Dala paved the way for the Multiply Titans to secure their place in Sunday’s Momentum One-Day Cup final after a gripping five-wicket win over the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Centurion on Wednesday.

 The Standard Bank Proteas seamer broke the previous record of five for 26 taken by Roelof van der Merwe against the Knights at the same SuperSport Park back in 2012/13 as his haul helped bowl out the visitors for 187.

 Dale Steyn also played a pivotal role with three for 20 that rocked the Cobras early as they were dismissed in 47.3 overs.

 An unbeaten 75 off 92 balls (9 fours) by Farhaan Behardien then steadied the Titans ship following a rocky start and guided them to their target with 65 deliveries remaining.

 It completed another excellent showing by Mark Boucher’s men, who will now meet either the Hollywoodbets Dolphins or the Warriors for the 2018/19 title.

 The regular-season winners dominated almost entirely from start to finish – bar a small window in between when Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt got the new ball to talk.

 The home side won the toss and bowled first with veteran Steyn rocking the Cape side with two wickets, those of Janneman Malan and Zubayr Hamza for ducks, in two first-over deliveries to leave them on nought for two.

 Dala then got to work as the Cobras continued to slide until they reached 52 for five by the end of the 18th over.

 Kyle Verreynne and Vernon Philander (36) then did some repair work with a 75-run sixth-wicket stand that gave the Cobras some hope.

 A further 43 between top-scorer Verreynne, who struck a mature 65 off 98 balls (5 fours), and Kleinveldt (32) raised more hope of a respectable score, but both then fell in quick succession.

 It left the tail exposed to the impressive Dala and he pounced for best-ever figures that trumped his maiden career five-for, five for 32, against the Dolphins earlier in the campaign.

 It was then then turn of the away bowlers to shine as Kleinveldt (3/49) and Philander (2/35) threatened an upset.

 Their early strikes left the home fans worried after their side slipped to 14 for two and then 65 for five.

 But Behardien did what Behardien does best by finishing the job his team-mates could not.

 After initially consolidating, he went on to bat right through the innings thanks to excellent support from Corbin Bosch at the other end – the latter ending on 45 off 65 balls.

 Their partnership in the end was worth 123 and their side won with 10.5 overs to spare.

Ashwell Prince, coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras is under no illusions that his team requires momentum and improved bowling performances if they are to beat the Multiply Titans in the Momentum One Day Cup semi-finals at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

 “We have not really had any momentum throughout the competition except when we won two in a row. There are no easy wins out there – if you look at the standings, the Titans (with six wins) have only won one more than the rest of us.”

 Prince also defended the losses of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras against the Multiply Titans in the league phase of the competition, whilst also praising Mark Boucher’s men for some fighting cricket, adding that they had the Titans at 31 for five before an excellent Aiden Markram and Farhaan Behardien rescued the visitors at PPC Newlands. In the return game, the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras were 71 for one and misread the conditions and tried to force the pace, which led to their demise, as they only scored 151, which the Titans went on to knock off with ease.

 When probed about his team scoring in excess of 300, Prince added, “Can we score 300? Of course we can – you need to be mindful that at venues like Bloemfontein, Centurion, Wanderers and Potchefstroom you get 300 all the time. At venues like Newlands, Paarl and Oudtshoorn you don’t get it, so the scores are conditions related,” said Prince.

 “It is a bit tougher to score 300 at the coast, but we can adapt to any conditions,” Prince said.

 The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will rely heavily on their international players in the match against the Titans.

 JP Duminy at number four is in excellent form right now and so is Zubayr Hamza at three, whilst Janneman and Pieter Malan have formed a formidable opening partnership this season which often frees up the likes of Kyle Verreynne and Aviwe Mgijima to play positive cricket in the middle order to try and get the team above scores of 300.

 Should that happen, experienced bowlers such as Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander, as well as Duminy, can inflict damage and let the scoreboard pressure do the rest.

 When asked about the potential of this young Cobras side, Kleinveldt enthused: “There would be no looking back if this group of young stars get over the line (and win a trophy).”

 World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: JP Duminy (captain), Akhona Mnyaka, Aviwe Mgijima, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne, Pieter Malan, Rory Kleinveldt, Tladi Bokako, Tsepo Ndwandwa, Vernon Philander, Zubayr Hamza

 

After a string of scintillating performances in this year’s Momentum One Day Cup, Akhona “AK” Mnyaka, has caught the eye of the cricket fraternity.

Notably, the 19-year-old’s  most recent moment of brilliance came against the bizhub Highveld Lions when he produced a sensational piece of death bowling in the last over to lead his side over the line in Johannesburg. Mnyaka seized the opportunity and bagged three- wickets in the last over, conceding a mere three runs to make his mark.

Not shy to conquer the big moments, the confident speedster has gained the trust of his team-mates to produce the goods when it comes to pressure situations.

“This has not always been the case, but I have learned to back my skill in every situation.” – a humble Mnyaka explained.

“I try to channel myself into executing and delivering the goods for my team and captain(s), who have backed my bowling throughout my career thus far,” he added.

From the humble streets of Mdantsane, East London, Mnyaka was born into a family of four, him being the youngest.

It was this very place where he was introduced to the game of cricket. Like most young hopefuls, he started participating in the Mini Cricket festivals and then moved up the ranks to the Hubs where he was recognised by Hudson Park High School, one of the Model C Schools in East London.

AK has always kept a level-head in his approach and exquisite knowledge of the game throughout the years and this became evident when he defended 6 runs in a semi-final match against Wynberg during the T20 school’s tournament during his school days.

This sensational trend resumed when he outshone most bowlers in New Zealand during last year’s U19 Cricket World Cup. Mnyaka surpassed all expectations to be the leading wicket-taker for his country.

“It was a great experience. Finishing as the top bowler for my country was special and it is something I will cherish forever.”

All Akhona’s hard work and riveting bowling displays have propelled him to the franchise side, where he has had to face some of South Africa’s top-tier batting talent and prove himself after signing for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

The youngster also has had to adapt swiftly from being a semi-pro player to becoming a professional in the Western Cape side.

“It has been a major shift, but you have to adapt quickly and grasp everything as fast as possible,” AK explains.

“A guy like Vernon Philander, who is someone I look up to, has been significant in my development especially on how to conduct myself on and off the field.

With the season’s “ups and downs”, AK’s star continues to ascend into the limelight and one day soon, he hopes to fulfil one his one of his aspirations, which is to represent the Proteas.

Matthew Breetzke finally came of age at franchise level with his maiden career century helping the Warriors secure their ticket to the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-finals with a nine-wicket drubbing of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.

The right-hander struck an unbeaten 131 off 129 balls (13 fours, 1 six) as the hosts comfortably chased down a 270-run victory target with six overs to spare. He was well supported by his captain Jon-Jon Smuts, who was not out with 92 off 93 balls (9 fours, 1 six).

The result meant the Warriors secured the final available play-off spot on offer and will now face the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, a side they jointly hold the title with, in the last four in Durban next week.

The other semi-final will be between the Multiply Titans and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Centurion.

Breetzke and his team had entered the round 10 encounter knowing that they simply had to end a four-game losing rut if they wanted to stay alive in the competition.

And, led by the opener, they responded emphatically with a clinical performance in front of their home fans.

The Eastern Cape franchise initially did not get things right, as they lost the toss and were asked to field first.

But disciplined bowling ensured the Cobras were restricted to 269 for five in their 50 overs, with Janneman Malan (88 off 108 balls, 10 fours) and Kyle Verreynne (62 off 59 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) doing the bulk of the scoring.

Dayyaan Galiem (39 not out off 41 balls) and Aviwe Mgijama (31) also chipped in, but no one really cut loose as the visitors were restricted to a fairly modest total.

Debutant Jade de Klerk impressed with one for 49, while there were also solid spells by pick of the bowlers Basheer Walters (2/50) and Sisanda Magala (1/52).

The Warriors were then incisive in their chase as Breetzke and Gihahn Cloete (28) put on 63 in a little over 11 overs for the first wicket, before Dane Piedt (1/47) claimed what turned out to be the only wicket to fall. The former went on to beat his previous best score of 94 for Eastern Province against Border at East London last season.

Together with Smuts, the South Africa Under-19 star and his skipper put on an unbroken 207-run second wicket stand – a franchise record that surpassed the long-standing 170 by DL Makalima and JP Kreusch recorded against Western Province Boland at Paarl in 2004/05.

A maiden career five-wicket haul by veteran Rory Kleinveldt laid the platform for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras to secure their place in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-finals thanks to a comfortable seven-wicket win over the VKB Knights in Cape Town on Thursday.

The 36-year-old seamer claimed an impressive five for 22 to help shoot out the visitors for 186 at PPC Newlands, before Zubayr Hamza’s unbeaten 65 (84 balls, 6 fours) guided the hosts to their target with 35 balls remaining.

Victory guaranteed the Cobras a place in next week’s play-offs after they moved to 20 points on the table, with the Knights (14 points) now having to beat the already qualified Multiply Titans on Saturday and hope other final round results go their way to have a chance of progressing.

The Cape side did what they needed to do though, on Human Rights Day.

In a good showing in front of their home fans, Ashwell Prince’s side were made to field first after losing the toss, but their opponents failed to make the most of their decision at the toss.

They lost three wickets before even getting to 10 as Kleinveldt accounted for Patrick Kruger for a duck as well as Keegan Petersen for two, before Vernon Philander, who was also hugely impressive with one for 30 in 10 overs, dismissed Andries Gous (7).

All this inside the opening 4.5 overs as the Knights were in a deep hole from the off.

Captain Pite van Biljon managed just 14, before he too fell, with Rudi Second (49) and Grant Mokoena (44) then doing their best to try and stabilise things with 40s apiece. That did momentarily give the Knights hope after they progressed to 118 for four – the pair adding 73 for the fifth wicket.

Rookie Tsepo Ndwandwa (1/35) eventually broke the stand and from there it was the Kleinveldt show as he blew away the tail to end with lifetime best figures, the fifth of which took him to 200 List A wickets.

His previous best in a career spanning 172 games was four for 22 for South Africa against Pakistan at Bloemfontein in 2012/13.

The Cobras had little trouble chasing down the target, bar a point where they lost Pieter Malan (17) and Janneman Malan (25) relatively close to each other.

That left them at 56 for two, and after 27 by Aviwe Mgijima, Hamza and Kyle Verreynne (44 not out off 55 balls, 4 fours) shared in an unbroken 87-run stand that led their side to an important win.

Coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, Ashwell Prince, believes his team have to be better with bat and ball if things initially don’t go their way as was the case against the Multiply Titans recently.

“We have to replicate the form we showed when we lost a few wickets against the Knights and fought back magnificently,” added Prince, ahead the critical match against the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands on Thursday.

The hosts have selected three spinners in their squad and have included the South Western Districts slow bowler Tsepo Ndwandwa together with Dane Piedt and George Linde on the same surface on which South Africa played two games against Sri Lanka at the iconic PPC Newlands.

“If pushed, we have to give it a go and play the conditions on the day,” said Prince.

“The fact that it is a must-win against the Knights should be motivation enough for the team, and there is even a chance that we can finish second on the log,” Prince said.

“Our focus should be to play well in the critical phases of the match and to fight back if we have early setbacks with bat and ball,” he emphasized.

Two of the stalwarts for the hosts on Thursday will be Rory Kleinveldt and Kyle Verreynne.

Verreynne struck an unbeaten century against the Knights in their first game and Prince said his middle order batsman is ready for the match against the Knights.

Kleinveldt, he added, was the number one white-ball bowler in South Africa last season and right now he is fourth on the list of bowling averages. “He is vastly experienced and hits the line and length consistently and that is why he is so highly ranked and rated,” Prince said.

Verreynne and the Malan brothers, Janneman and Pieter have all scored centuries during the series and they will be looking to continue their run of form on Thursday.

But the man arguably the best suited for the current conditions at PPC Newlands is Zubayr Hamza, who is a great player of slow bowling and has shown that when he represented South Africa A against India A.

Prince acknowledged that Marchant de Lange is an in-form bowler right now that deserves respect, but is confident the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will deal with him like they did in Bloemfontein in the two sides’ first clash.

The match starts at 10h00 with tickets available to purchase at the gate. One lucky fan who has bought a ticket stands the chance to win a night away at Aquila Private Game Reserve worth R12,300.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (Captain), Tladi Bokako, Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Rory Kleinveldt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Tsepo Ndwandwa, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Kyle Verreynne

 

 

Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder, JP Duminy, will bid farewell to the PPC Newlands faithful when he makes his final home One-Day International (ODI) appearance in the fifth Momentum ODI against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Duminy will retire from the 50-over format after the ICC Cricket World Cup in the UK later this year, but will continue to be available for the Proteas in T20 International (T20I) cricket.

 Duminy, who announced his retirement from Test and First-Class cricket in 2017 to put more focus on his white-ball cricket, feels ‘the time is right’ to close this chapter of his international career. Saturday’s match will be a fitting farewell for a respected and admired servant of the game in front of the avid local fans and at a place he calls home.

 “The last few months on the sidelines have given me an opportunity to re-assess my career going forward and to plot some goals I’d like to achieve in the future,” he said. “While a decision like this is never easy, I also feel that it is the right time for me to pass on the baton. I will still be available to play international and domestic T20 cricket, but would also like to invest more time towards my growing family, who are my number one priority. I have been privileged to live out my dream playing a sport I love, and I am forever grateful for the support I have received from my team mates, coaches, family, friends and fans throughout the years.”

 Notes

Duminy will address the media at PPC Newlands on Friday, 15 March at approximately 12h00.

 

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras captain Dane Piedt arrived back in Cape Town a disappointed leader after his team slumped to a 10-wicket defeat at Supersport Park, Centurion on Wednesday.

“We didn’t bring our A game, but we still have our semi-final destiny firmly in our own hands,” commented Piedt.

“We let our seam bowlers down and played downright badly,” said Piedt with reference to the total of 151 all out scored by the visitors.

Chris Morris took 4-23 and Junior Dala captured 4-29. Asked if it was just excellent bowling or indifferent batting, a frank Piedt said, “it was bad batting.”

Three of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras batsmen, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza and Aviwe Mgijima, struck 30, but not one of them converted it into a half-century or century, which would have given the visitors a total of 280 or 290.

“The Titans got off to a flyer and put us on the back foot from the start which ended up being one of the main reasons why they won so comprehensively,” added Piedt.

The Momentum One Day Cup has been a topsy-turvy season so far, with four wins and four losses, but Ashwell Prince’s men have their destiny in their own hands when they next play against the bottom-of-the-log VKB Knights at PPC Newlands on 21st March.

They will finish off their league phase campaign of the competition on the 23rd March against the Warriors at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.

 

Congratulations to World Sports Cape Cobras Academy Colts cricketers Diego du Plessis and Mujaahid Toffar who were selected for the South Africa Academy, which was selected at the conclusion of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Franchise Academy Week which was held last week.

 

South Africa Academy:

 Christopher Britz (Multiply Titans), Diego du Plessis (WSB Cape Cobras), Modiri Litheko (Multiply Titans), Siphamandla Mavanda (VKB Knights), Jacob Miltz (bizhub Highveld Lions), Thomas Mashiane (Multiply Titans), Yves Kamanzi (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Mujaahid Toffar (WSB Cape Cobras), Jonathan Draai (VKB Knights), Tristan Stubbs (Warriors), Justin Watson (bizhub Highveld Lions), Khwezi Gumede (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Thami Mthonxa (VKB Knights).

 Coaches: Geoff Toyana (Head Coach), Jason Brooker (Assistant Coach).