CAPE TOWN. – Get back to basics. Establish a firm foundation and then transfer pressure to the opposition through excellent partnerships with bat and ball, has been the mantra that has made the Cape Cobras a dominant unit the past four seasons. Paul Adams, the coach, has implored his troops to use that simple yet profound strategy in the Sunfoil Series match against The Unlimited Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

The match starts on Sunday 27th December.

“We need to stay calm and composed. About six or seven wins are needed in a campaign to win the Sunfoil Series and we can do it,” Adams explained.

“We need to get back to basics. The team we have now, is a more settled squad (than the team that flattered to deceive against the VKB Knights). This squad will probably carry us through the campaign,” the coach remarked.

Adams said in the defeat against the VKB Knights the team got off to a frantic start, and lost regular wickets. Their first-innings deficit had them under enormous pressure for the rest of the game.

The Cape Cobras are renowned for their attacking and explosive brand of cricket, but they need to do the basics right by establishing a solid foundation and thereafter transfer pressure to the opposition.

The visiting attack will require accuracy and discipline against a top-heavy Titans team, who boasts the presence of the in-form Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock and Farhaan Behardien in their top-five, which is the envy of many other teams.

The Cobras do have superb fire-power in Andrew Puttick, Omphile Ramela, Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong and Keegan Petersen.

They also have a bowling attack which would make a few countries proud, as Rory Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson are set to challenge the Titans batting order on a wicket that could be two-paced and inconsistent at times.

The teams are:

Cape Cobras: Omphile Ramela (capt), Simon Khomari, Andrew Puttick, Dane Vilas, Keegan Petersen, Justin Ontong, Lesiba Ngoepe, Lizaad Williams, Robin Peterson, Tshepo Moreki, Beuran Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson.

The Unlimited Titans: Henry Davids (capt), Heino Kuhn, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Behardien, Grant Mokoena, Mangaliso Mosehle, David Wiese, Chris Morris, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati, Marchant de Lange, Junior Dala.

CAPE TOWN. –  Rory Kleinveldt is determined not to stroll off into the sunset or fade into oblivion as an experienced 32-year old fast bowler. He wants to make a stand and remind all and sundry of the talent which brought him 57 championship-wickets for Northamptonshire in 2015.

Kleinveldt, senior bowler of the Cape Cobras, will be one of the spearheads when the Cape-champions meet The Unlimited Titans in Benoni from Sunday 27th December in a Sunfoil Series-match.

“I have recovered from the flu which kept me in bed for seven days. Today I bowled six overs in the nets and it felt good,” he said.

Kleinveldt added that assessing the right length and the conditions are important ingredients for producing the goods in Benoni. The wicket can be a bit up and down as the ball can skid through at different heights.

When he is operating at the height of his powers, Kleinveldt can swing it both ways and also move it both ways off the seam. “The wicket in Benoni is a hit-the-wicket kind of pitch and I’m that sort of bowler,” he added.

He acknowledges his bowling performances in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge were “very inconsistent”.

Kleinveldt said the Cape Cobras is a team in a transitional phase and busy rebuilding. But every player must take account of his performance and make sure he executes his skills to perfection.

The Cobras are set to unleash three experienced South African bowlers and one SA A-bowler against the Titans as Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson have been included in the group of thirteen.

Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas return to the squad with the captain, Omphile Ramela.

Ontong is the most experienced player in the batting line-up and it would be pivotal for the Cape Cobras that Ontong, Andrew Puttick and Ramela lead the way with big first-innings contributions to atone for the poor batting performances by the star-studded team against the VKB Knights.

The squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Lesiba Ngoepe, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki.

 

Rory Kleinveldt is determined not to stroll off into the sunset or fade into oblivion as an experienced 32-year old fast bowler. He wants to make a stand and remind all and sundry of the talent which brought him 57 championship-wickets for Northamptonshire in 2015.

Kleinveldt, senior bowler of the Cape Cobras, will be one of the spearheads when the Cape-champions meet The Unlimited Titans in Benoni from Sunday 27th December in a Sunfoil Series-match.

“I have recovered from the flue which kept me in bed for seven days. Today I bowled six overs in the nets and it felt good,” he said.

Kleinveldt added that assessing the right length and the conditions are important ingredients for producing the goods in Benoni. The wicket can be a bit up and down as the ball can skid through at different heights.

When he is operating at the height of his powers, Kleinveldt can swing it both ways and also move it both ways off the seam. “The wicket in Benoni is a hit-the-wicket kind of pitch and I’m that sort of bowler,” he added.

He acknowledges his bowling performances in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge were “very inconsistent”.

Kleinveldt said the Cape Cobras is a team in a transitional phase and busy rebuilding. But every player must take account of his performance and make sure he executes his skills to perfection.

The Cobras are set to unleash three experienced South African bowlers and one SA A-bowler against the Titans as Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson have been included in the group of thirteen.

Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas return to the squad with the captain, Omphile Ramela.

Ontong is the most experienced player in the batting line-up and it would be pivotal for the Cape Cobras that Ontong, Andrew Puttick and Ramela lead the way with big first-innings contributions to atone for the poor batting performances by the star-studded team against the VKB Knights.

The squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Lesiba Ngoepe, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki.

 

CAPE TOWN. – Dale Steyn, one of South Africa’s finest-ever bowlers and senior Cape Cobras stalwart, waltzed through his fitness test without a frown on his face, but Wayne Parnell’s comeback-trail and his quest for higher honours came to a halt due to a Cobras stalwart, foot injury, last week.

According to Shane Jabaar, the Cape Cobras physiotherapist, Steyn had little trouble in passing his fitness test at PPC Newlands, but Parnell had to be pulled out of the South Africa A-match against England at Pietermaritzburg due to a hind foot injury.

Parnell was in splendid form in the 2015/2016-season, taking 10 wickets in four Momentum One Day Cup matches, batting superbly at the top of the order in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge clashes and also nipping out 4-20 in a match against the Dolphins at SuperSport Park against a batting line-up that included Kevin Pietersen and David Miller.

He will be out of action for at least 10 days, according to Jabaar. He suffered complications after the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-final knockout-match against the Sunfoil Dolphins. He was ruled out of the South Africa A match and replaced by his Cape colleague Dane Paterson.

Steyn is South Africa’s most successful bowler ever at PPC Newlands, where the second test will take place from 2nd January. He has also nabbed out 38 batsmen in seven tests at Kingsmead in Durban where South Africa and England will start the test series on Boxing Day.

According to Jabaar, Steyn looked in good spirits while doing his running drills, fielding and bowling in the nets at PPC Newlands, and he is fired up to represent the Proteas again.

Dry conditions at Kingsmead could suit Steyn as his ability to take wickets with reverse swing contributed to his rich haul of 9-147 in the Boxing Day test against India in 2013. South Africa won by 10 wickets.

Steyn has taken 65 wickets in 13 tests at PPC Newlands and was one of the destroyers-in-chief when the Proteas restricted Australia to 49 in 2011 and New Zealand to 45 in the 2012/2013-series at the iconic ground.

CAPE TOWN. – South African cricket fans should not despair or go into national mourning due to the failure of the Cape Cobras trio of JP Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl and Hashim Amla in the Sunfoil Series match at PPC Newlands. They all have super track records and one can expect them to do well in the first test against England, said Andrew Puttick and Werner Coetsee, skippers of the Cape Cobras and the VKB Knights, at PPC Newlands where the visitors romped to an innings and 102-run win against the hosts on Saturday.

Puttick said Duminy looked stylish in both innings and was unlucky to be adjudged trapped leg before wicket when he was getting into his rhythm on 35 in the first innings.

Coetsee echoed the same sentiments.

He said not one of the three South African batsmen were scratchy in the match. Van Zyl scored 21, Amla 23 and Duminy 27 in the second innings.

The pitch had something in it throughout the match and Shadley van Schalkwyk produced a sterling performance by hitting the perfect length and nipping the ball off the seam which found the edges of the Cape Cobras batsmen consistently. Duanne Olivier was almost equally as impressive.

The inexperienced Cape Cobras attack was not able to emulate this consistency.

Amla has averaged 58 in home tests since 2010 while AB de Villiers is averaging 66.07 at home since 2009, according to the website cricinfo.

But the South African test captain only scored 118 in four tests against India recently, while he also produced only 316 runs in his past 11 One Day Internationals.

Coetsee said: “We must remember that they have come back from a difficult tour to India and entered the Sunfoil Series with a lack of confidence. But they have scored so many runs on these home pitches. They are just one innings away from good form,” he added.

Duminy was unperturbed by his batting performances. “I got an opportunity to play. The England team have always had a formidable attack, but I do believe if we play according to our standards, we can beat them. I won’t read too much into what happened against the Knights.”

Puttick said the Knights came to PPC Newlands a hungry team and played proper first-class cricket.

“We were poor,” he said. “It was sad to see the way we capitulated.”

Asked if the Cobras lacked intensity, Puttick concurred. “The Cape Cobras cannot live on past glories and expect just to rock up and win matches. We must understand we don’t possess the team of the past which included Vernon Philander, Justin Kemp and Alistair Gray.

“Against the VKB Knights, we were not at the races,” said Puttick.

THE VKB Knights proved that there were no major gremlins in the PPC Newlands surface as they methodically built up a huge lead over the Cape Cobras on day two of their Sunfoil Series encounter.

 

A high-profile Cobras batting line-up had been dismissed for just 146 on the first day after winning the toss and electing to bat, but the Knights had no such trouble as they reached stumps on the second day on 346 for five.

 

Although none of the Knights batsmen made more than Letlotlo Sesele’s 66, all but one of the top seven contributed and Tumelo Bodibe closed the day unbeaten on 53 while Werner Coetsee was 45 not out.

 

The Cobras had to do without Dane Paterson after he earned a late call-up to the South Africa A squad – to stand in for Wayne Parnell – and was withdrawn overnight.

 

Paterson was replaced by Beuran Hendricks, who will have been pleased to get through 18 overs in a day in his first franchise game after a long injury lay-off, although he was unable to pick up a wicket.

 

The Knights had begun the day on 59 for one, and Sesele and Michael Erlank extended their partnership for the second wicket to 117 before the pair both fell in the space of three overs.

 

Dane Piedt was the bowler to make the breakthrough, trapping Sesele lbw with the Knights score on 120, before Erlank (45) suffered the same fate against Tshepo Moreki.

 

Any hope that the double breakthrough gave the Cobras was gradually erased in another impressive partnership, this time between Diego Rosier and Pite van Biljon.

 

They added 108 for the fourth wicket at a good rate, but once again it was Piedt who separated the partnership when he had Van Biljon (53) caught behind in the 80th over.

 

That gave the Cobras a crack at Bodibe with the new ball, but he stood firm. Rosier was the only one to fall victim to the second new ball, trapped lbw by Moreki for 61.

 

Thereafter the Knights built their third significant partnership – an unbroken 85 between Bodibe and Coetsee.

CAPE TOWN. – The WeChat Newlands Challenge which lured over 6000 fans through the turnstiles to be part of the sporting extravaganza which saw the Cape Cobras, the DHL Stormers, Ajax Cape Town and Santos face-off in T20- and six-overs-a-side-matches, was an unqualified success and have all the ingredients to become an annual event again, said Nabeal Dien, Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Cobras.

Dien said judged on the way in which cricket, rugby and soccer-fans embraced the event and the vibrancy at PPC Newlands on Tuesday, the Cape Cobras are confident this will be hosted again.

“We will host 18 international games over the next four years which will limit our opportunities to stage events of this nature. Yet, we have been overwhelmed by the fans’ response. The WeChat Newlands Challenge not only contributes to social cohesion. It also unites the different sporting sport basis of the Mother City and therefore was an instant hit.

“It is a very special occasion to have the premier rugby-franchise of the Western Cape, the DHL Stormers, one of the leading cricket-franchises in South Africa, the Cape Cobras, and two of the premier soccer-forces in Cape Town, Ajax Cape Town and Santos, engaged in friendly battle,” he said.

“Bringing the three sporting codes together is a great initiative, and may it long continue,” said Dion Mostert, sales and marketing manager of Ajax Cape Town.

Gavin Lewis, communications manager of the DHL Stormers, applauded the massive effort in conceptualizing and bringing the event to fruition. “It was a great event as always,” he said.

According to Ronald Bach, WeChat Africa’s New Business Manager , WeChat is excited to co-host  the WeChat Newlands Challenge.

Fans had the opportunity to buy tickets to the event on the TicketPros website or at the PPC Newlands ticket office using their WeChat Wallet and received R80 paid back into their WeChat wallet to spend at food and drinks vendors in the stadium.

WeChat promoters assisted fans to download the app and open their WeChat Wallets at the WeChat wifi zones and stadium vendors quickly had queues of fans eager to spend the money in their WeChat wallets at their stalls.

“Fans also had the opportunity to enter the WeChat Money Zones contest. 10 contestants were selected from all the entries for the half-time contest where prize money of up to R30 000,00 was up for grabs.

Contestants each had the change to face three gentle deliveries from Cobras bowlers and based on how far they hit the ball into the various money zones, earned between R100 and R1000 paid into their WeChat Wallets”, Bach added.

 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

 

SHADLEY van Schwalkwyk recorded his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket as the VKB Knights ran through a high-profile Cape Cobras batting line-up on the first day of their Sunfoil Series clash at PPC Newlands.

 

Van Schalkwyk’s 5 for 45 represented his best figures in a seven-year first-class career, and included the big wickets of Hashim Amla and JP Duminy.

 

With Dillon du Preez and Werner Coetsee taking two wickets apiece, the Cobras were bowled out for 146 after they had won the toss and elected to bat, to which the Knights responded with 59 for one.

 

The Knights’ huge advantage came as a surprise given that the Cobras boasted a batting line-up with Amla, Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl as well as the veteran Andrew Puttick.

 

Van Zyl was dismissed in just the seventh over of the day when he left a delivery from Du Preez and saw it swing in to hit off stump.

 

Although Amla and Puttick appeared to have seen out the trickiest period as they batted past the drinks break, Van Schalkwyk found some away movement to have Amla caught behind in the second hour of the day.

 

Keegan Petersen fell in the same fashion when Van Schalkwyk returned after lunch, and in the next over Puttick was bowled by Coetsee for 32 to leave the Cobras 76 for four.

 

Duminy (35) attempted to lead a recovery with a patient innings, only for Van Schalkwyk to return once again and trap him lbw with a delivery that kept a touch low.

 

Van Schalkwyk then made short work of the tail, as the Cobras lost their last four wickets for the addition of just 13 runs.

 

Some sort of reply was needed with the ball, but while Dane Paterson trapped Rudi Second lbw in the first over of the Knights’ innings, Letlotlo Sesele and Michael Erlank held firm.

 

Sesele went to stumps unbeaten on 38, while Erlank had 15 as the Knights trailed by 87 runs with nine wickets in hand.

CAPE TOWN. – Which factor will be the most disconcerting for his supporters? Would it be his broken index finger, his 316 runs in the past 11 One Day Internationals or the 116 runs at an average of 16.85 in the test series against India?

None of the above if your counter-argument is: how many runs would any of the world’s premier batsmen have scored on sub-standard wickets against the wizard of India called Ravi Ashwin who struck 31 times?

And not many observers realized that a resilient Hashim Amla spent 500 minutes at the crease in two innings in the final two tests in his committed efforts to stone-wall South Africa to safety in India?

“During the first three test matches, one has to put things in context. Both teams struggled to get substantial totals above 300. In fact, the best score produced by India in the first three tests was 215,” said Amla.

He said Stiaan van Zyl batted superbly to compile 37, but that score won’t get the value it deserves.

“It was very difficult all round (in the test series in India), but it takes just one knock to kick-start good totals. We need to start off well in the test series against England and build the confidence.

“In the last two matches of the Indian series, we were trying to save games. So defence took precedence, and we did not utilize some scoring options in the interests of the team,” said Amla.

In Nagpur, his vigil of 219 minutes at the crease yielded 39 runs and his defiance lasted 167 balls.

It was last chance saloon for South Africa to stave off defeat while Amla and Faf du Plessis were at the crease. When Amla was dismissed, it had a domino effect and the lower order capitulated against the slow bowling maestros Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Amla was equally brave-hearted in Delhi, as he spent 289 minutes to compile 25 in testing conditions before the hosts romped to a 337-run win.

The South African captain’s amazing conversion rate of 23 tons in 88 tests revolves around his marvellous powers of concentration.

Asked if he is one innings away from reviving the form that saw him hammering 311 in a test innings against England and 253 against India, Amla answered: “Every batter in the world that goes through a lean patch is always one innings away from recapturing his form.”

Amla gets a perfect opportunity to boost his confidence while batting at number three for the Cape Cobras in their Sunfoil Series match against the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands. The match starts on Thursday.

Asked about how South Africa hopes to achieve home dominance against England, Amla said it is quite simple. The bowlers were able to take 20 wickets in most of the tests against India, but the batsmen needs to string together substantial partnerships in order to transfer pressure to England.

Amla revealed that Russell Domingo, the South African coach, always wanted him to stay at number three, but he briefly opted for the number-four position in the hope to lengthen the batting order.

He briefly held the position as the number one batsman in the world in both One Day Internationals and tests while opening in the former and occupying the number-three position in white uniform. “I think the key at number three has been that I enjoy batting in the middle for as long as possible,” he said.

Does Amla hope to emulate any other all-time great during his life-time? No, he says, he just wants to make the most of his own gifts as naturally and as originally as possible.

As a younger batsman, he revered both Brian Lara and Steve Waugh. In Lara’s case, it was because of his flair and flamboyance, and for the way in which he could dispatch deliveries off the back foot through extra cover to the boundary.

His admiration for Waugh was based on his ability to pull his team out of the mire through sheer tenacity while batting at number four or five.

“But every one of us has his own way of doing things.”

Typically understated Amla, the South African captain, when asked about the plaster on his left index finger, stated in matter-of-fact style: “The finger is broken, but I don’t think it would bother me much (when I’m batting).”

And even the discomfort or pain in his finger might disappear of Amla hammers his 45th first-class century in the Sunfoil Series match between the Cape Cobras and the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands during the weekend.

 

CAPE TOWN. – Depending on the captain’s script and the conductor’s instructions, he will deliver the Carrom-delivery on que, but he can only attack if his skipper gives him licence, says Dane Piedt.

The South African off-spinner will be one of the attacking weapons of the Cape Cobras when they play in their first Sunfoil Series match of the 2015/2016-season at PPC Newlands against the VKB Knights. Piedt is also the only specialist spinner selected for South Africa for the first two tests against England in South Africa.

He indicated he might use his feared Carrom-ball a bit more in domestic games, depending on conditions and the requests by his skipper.

Piedt says he is a much better bowler than the debutant who claimed eight for 152 in his maiden test for South Africa against Zimbabwe.

“I am more mature in the way I go about things. I am mentally also much stronger. Eight months ago I thought I would never represent South Africa again (after a career-threatening shoulder injury).

“In the fourth test against India (he captured four for 117 in 38 overs) I performed to my captain’s instructions and did exactly what he required me to do,” Piedt said.

The Cape Cobras off-spinner could have had a better return and might have taken 7 wickets in that much with a bit of luck.

One catch was put down at slip ( a straight forward chance) off Piedt, while at least one leg-before-wicket chance and another bat-pad-chance did not get its deserved verdict.

Piedt is not your average spinner. He uses the doosra and Carrom-varieties and can also produce a cunning arm ball (which accounted for Shikhar Dhawan in the fourth test).

“I can bowl the Carrom-ball any moment. But it always depends on the match situation. If I am required to play an attacking role, I won’t necessarily bowl a Carrom-ball first up, but will try and whip out the batsman with my off-spinners before reverting to the Carrom-ball.”

The Carrom-ball is delivered by flicking it between the thumb and a bent middle finger to impart spin. Unlike the off-spin delivery which moves back into the right-hander, it moves away from the right-hander, and in some cases even moves straight on.

“It really also depends on conditions, as the ball will not turn as appreciably in South Africa as in India.”

Piedt is an advocate of consistency and of performing the holding role to perfection, and that asset contributed to his success in the fourth test against India as he hardly dished out any freebees in the first innings against the attacking-minded hosts.

His new-found confidence might pose a threat to the VKB Knights when the Cape Cobras host them at PPC Newlands in a Sunfoil Series match starting on Thursday.

Piedt captured 45 wickets in eight Sunfoil Series matches in the 2013/2014-season, including a hat-trick in a home game against the Sunfoil Dolphins at Boland Park in Paarl.