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.

 

CAPE TOWN. – Perhaps a cautionary note or two would suffice to those doubters and detractors who have written Stiaan van Zyl’s epitaph as a South African opener: Van Zyl requires only 10 runs to complete 7000 runs in first-class cricket, and he has done it at an average of 44.80. He has done it mostly while batting at number three, and often came to the crease when the first wicket fell after only one or two ovrs.

A few months ago when South Africa A toured India, he was at the summit of the list of South Africa A batting averages with 57.33, comfortably better than Omphile Ramela and Quinton de Kock in second and third place.

Van Zyl was dropped for the fourth test in the recent series in India after a string of low scores. But his name was re-inserted for the first two tests of the series against England.

“Yes, I was disappointed to be dropped. The pitches were under prepared if you compare them to the wickets on which we played when South Africa A and India A did battle,” he said.

“I am working on a few small technical things, but my ultimate goal is to do very well for the Cape Cobras in their first match against the VKB Knights. I will probably open with Andrew Puttick.

“It is great to be reunited with my old pals and I am looking forward to the Sunfoil Series.

“I don’t plan on tinkering too much with my technique. It has served me well through the years,” he said.

In 113 matches, he has scored 6990 runs at an average of 44.80.

“If there are major weaknesses that I detect in my technique, I will address them,” he said.

“I just thought the Indian bowlers outperformed us in the series.”

Don Bradman, arguably the greatest batsman of all time, once said: “There is no crisis, just the next run.”

Van Zyl feels similarly. He says he has done well for South Africa A and the Cape Cobras, and scored a best of 107 in a Sunfoil Series match for the hosts against the Sunfoil Dolphins at PPC Newlands last season. What he needs now, is a composed spirit and thee figures on the scorecard to re-emphasize his ability as one of South Africa’s premier opening batsman.

“I believe in keeping things simple and making good starts count,” he added.

Sporting FANS, download the @WeChatZA app AND the #WeChatWallet today (Android and iOS devices only), so you’re ready for the Sporting Bonanza when you get to @NewlandsCricket for the @WeChatZA Newlands Challenge on Tuesday, 15 December!
 
Be early and meet all your sporting stars in ONE venue on the 15th! Gates open at 3pm.
 
Details of the two games at PPC Newlands are as follows:
i) Ajax CT vs Santos FC, 4pm [gates open at 3pm]
ii) DHL Stormers vs The Cape Cobras, 6pm
 
Tickets for both game costs ONLY R40 and if purchased on the TicketPro website or at the PPC Newlands ticket office using the WeChat Wallet, the purchaser will receive R80 back into their Wechat Wallet to spend within the stadium at participating vendors. (T&C‘s apply)
 
With the WeChat Wallet, users can electronically send cash to friends and family, just like handing cash to a friend to get you lunch or pay for coffee or a drink at the bar.
 
Information of up to three chip and PIN debit or credit cards, which are verified by Visa and MasterCard security systems, can be saved in the WeChat Wallet.
 
Cards can also be used to Cash In and increase your wallet’s cash balance, pay for services on WeChat such as airtime, electricity, food or pay SnapScan merchants.
 
Howzat for value?! 4 teams, 2 matches at, 1 venue PLUS get R80 in your WeChat Wallet to spend within the stadium, so download WeChat today to score.
 
How to pay via WeChat Wallet
 
1) Open WeChat
2) Tap on Me and select Wallet
3) Tap on Get Started to register your wallet
4) Tap on Cards and add your card
5) Tap on Use SnapScan and scan the QR code on the TicketPro payment page to pay for your tickets
 
Terms & Conditions
• Tickets for this event costs R40 per person. If the user pays via WeChat Wallet they will receive R80 paid back into their WeChat Wallet – irrespective of how many tickets were purchased.
• The rebate offer is limited to one R80 rebate per unique WeChat Wallet user.
• The QR code on the TicketPro payment must be scanned via the WeChat app not the Snapscan app to receive the rebate.
• Money rebated to the user’s WeChat Wallet can be used to pay for food & drinks at participating stadium vendors at the event, transferred to a friend on WeChat or cashed out at a Standard Bank ATM or selected retailers.
• To register a WeChat Wallet, users need to be 16 years or older and have a South African ID number.
• WeChat Wallet is only available on Android and iOS devices
 
Follow @WeChatZA on twitter and use the hashtag #WeChatWallet for more info. Or visit www.capecobras.co.za or facebook.com/cobrascricket for more info…

CAPE T0WN. – The Cape Cobras possess the talent, the skills and the hunger to win the Sunfoil Series competition for a third time in four seasons, said Omphile Ramela, four-day captain of the Cape Cobras.

The Cobras will start their four-day campaign on 17th December against the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands. At least four national players who formed part of the recent test series against India, Hashim Amla, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Piedt and JP Duminy, will represent the hosts.

The hosts would be eager to shrug off the disappointment following a demoralizing and anti-climactic conclusion to the Ram Slam T20 Challenge by slipping to a five-run loss to the Sunfoil Dolphins.

Ramela was critical of the lack of intensity displayed by the Cape Cobras (in the four-day competition last season) at the press conference where his appointment as captain was confirmed.

Probed about it on Friday, Ramela said: “I think we have to do the basics well and put pressure on the opposition.”

The 27-year old top-order batsman said he believed in managing players individually and understanding their personas and temperaments. “Some players would respond to a kick, others to encouragement.

“You have to empower individuals so that they could feel free to express themselves.”

Ramela’s name was inserted at number five for the South Africa A-team that will meet England on tour.

“I think it is a very strong SA A team. We will be competitive. The idea is that we beat them and also do the national team a favour,” he said.

Ramela finished the 2014/2015-season with two centuries and hammered another ton in his maiden first-class match for South Africa A.

He said it is obvious that he would like to make more of those significant contributions for South Africa A.

The SA A-player recently went through a lean trot in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, but responded superbly with 96 in his previous first-class match for the Western Province team.

It has given a much-need boost ahead of his battle against England.

http://www.capecobras.co.za/player/omphile-ramela/

CAPE TOWN. – The Cape Cobras, in conjunction with Woolworths Long Beach Mall and Colosseum stores, are set to visit the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on Monday 14th December.

The visit by one of South Africa’s most dominant domestic cricketing power-houses, is aimed at offering the patients and parents opportunities to interact with the players, mingle with them and speak to some of the most publically adored South African sporting heroes.

Woolworths has sponsored goodie bags which will be handed out by the Cape Cobras.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to the hospital, the staff, the children and their relatives. It also offers the players the opportunity to share gifts, while encouraging and inspiring young patients in the spirit of Christmas,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Cape Cobras.

“We want to be known not only as a cup-winning domestic team, but also as champions of good will.”

David Stephens, executive director of the Children’s Hospital Trust, said: “We have such great expectations of the visit of the Cape Cobras. They are a source of great joy and excitement in the corridors and wards of the hospital with their encouragement, support and infectious spirits.”

“Woolworths is delighted to be part of this heart-warming initiative with the Cape Cobras and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital,” said Andrew Lottering, Woolworths Long Beach Mall foods manager.

‘It is extremely important to Woolworths to contribute to the needs of our children. We wish the children, the parents and the hospital staff an enjoyable time and we salute the Cape Cobras to invest time to make a difference in the lives of young South Africans,” Lottering added.

Visits to the hospital has been part of an annual tradition since the early 2000’s when Paul Adams, the current coach, was still a Cape Cobras and South African stalwart with his unique left-arm wrist spinning style.

“As a Cape Cobras squad, we treasure the visits to the children’s hospital and we trust that this will continue indefinitely,” Adams added.

Dien said cricket inspires young fans, and offer them a healthy lifestyle-opportunity while building camaraderie and social bonds with fellow-players. “We hope this visit will inspire the patients to never surrender their childhood dreams and hopes.”

Follow @chtrust1 or @CobrasCricket for more info. ‪#‎CobrasRCCHvisit‬

Sporting FANS, download the @WeChatZA app and set up you #WeChatWallet today, so you’re ‘match ready’ when you get to Newlands Cricket Ground for the @WeChatZA Newlands Challenge on Tuesday, 15 November so you may claim your R80 in the ‪#‎WeChatWallet‬ when you buy a R40 ticket to spend within the stadium at the ‪#‎SnapScan‬ accredited vendors (T&C’s apply).

Be early and meet all your sporting stars in ONE venue on the 15th! Gates open at 3pm.

Details of the two games at PPC Newlands are as follows:
i) Ajax CT vs Santos FC, 4pm [gates open at 3pm]
ii) DHL Stormers vs The Cape Cobras, 6pm

With the WeChat Wallet, users can electronically send cash to friends and family, just like handing cash to a friend to get you lunch or pay for coffee or a drink at the bar.

Information of up to three chip and PIN debit or credit cards, which are verified by Visa and MasterCard security systems, can be saved in the WeChat Wallet.

Cards can also be used to Cash In and increase your wallet’s cash balance, pay for services on WeChat such as airtime, electricity, food or pay SnapScan merchants.

Howzat for value?! 4 teams, 2 matches at, 1 venue PLUS get R80 in your WeChat Wallet to spend within the stadium, so download WeChat today to score.

How to pay via WeChat Wallet

1) Open WeChat
2) Tap on Me and select Wallet
3) Tap on Get Started to register your wallet
4) Tap on Cards and add your card
5) Tap on Use SnapScan and scan the QR code on the TicketPro payment page to pay for your tickets

Terms & Conditions
• Tickets for this event costs R40 per person. If the user pays via WeChat Wallet they will receive R80 paid back into their WeChat Wallet – irrespective of how many tickets were purchased.
• The rebate offer is limited to one R80 rebate per unique WeChat Wallet user.
• The QR code on the TicketPro payment must be scanned via the WeChat app not the Snapscan app to receive the rebate.
• Money rebated to the user’s WeChat Wallet can be used to pay for food & drinks at participating stadium vendors at the event, transferred to a friend on WeChat or cashed out at a Standard Bank ATM or selected retailers.
• To register a WeChat Wallet, users need to be 16 years or older and have a South African ID number.
• WeChat Wallet is only available on Android and iOS devices

Follow @WeChatZA on twitter and use the hashtag #WeChatWallet for more info. Or visit www.capecobras.co.za or facebook.com/cobrascricketfor more info…

CAPE TOWN. – “We will remain positive and are committed to bounce back with a bang in the Sunfoil Series,” said a dejected Justin Ontong, captain of the Cape Cobras, after their painful 5-run loss in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semif-final play-offs against the Sunfoil Dolphins.

“We threw it away. We should have won it,” he said about the defeat.

Ontong added that in their semi-final play-off run-chase, they were on course with a run a ball needed in the final four overs. “Instead of scoring singles and rotating the strike, we attempted the big shots and paid dearly for it. We lost our heads.

“We were our own worst enemies in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-finals,” he added.

Albie Morkel, The Unlimited Titans captain, confirmed the sentiments expressed by Ontong. He said he felt for 80 % of the match that the visitors would be victorious. He said the Cobras might have erred on a very slow wicket by attempting the big shots at the business-end of the innings instead of simply taking singles or twos.

In the match at Kingsmead between the Dolphins and the Titans, the hosts attempted the same approach in their innings and lost quick wickets on a very slow pitch, Morkel explained.

Ontong admitted that the middle-order struggled throughout the campaign despite excellent starts provided by Richard Levi and Wayne Parnell for the Cape Cobras.

Although Ontong did not mention any names in talking about the middle-order, it was clear that the form of SA Engelbrecht, Ontong and Omphile Ramela deserted them at stages during the campaign, while Andrew Puttick, Robin Peterson and Rory Kleinveldt also failed to finish the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with a flourish on Wednesday.

“As middle-order we got stuck in a rut and put the team under pressure. It simply was not good enough as we could not bat at a higher strike-rate than 100,” he added.

“We also did not rally together as a team enough. When we won, it was through individual brilliance, and not through a team effort.

“Wayne did not only produce the goods for the team, but from an individual perspective, he showed that he has the ability to be a Protea player again,” he added.

“I think Omphile Ramela will bring new and fresh energy to the team as captain of the Sunfoil Series squad.

“We pride ourselves in our four-day campaign and want to bounce back. In February 2014, we narrowly loss to the Dolphins in the Ram Slam final, but we rallied and won the domestic four-day showpiece.

“Having said that, the loss still hurts deeply, because it was such a close encounter,” he said. “I would rather lose by 60 runs than by 5,” Ontong added.

The Cape Cobras’ ranks have been bolstered by the return of four South African stalwarts for their opening Sunfoil Series match as Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Dane Piedt and Stiaan van Zyl will be part of the team.

Ontong said the left-arm swing bowler Beuran Hendricks might need some more first-class exposure at amateur-level before he represents the Cape Cobras in the Sunfoil Series.

Dane Paterson bowled with enormous pace and incredible control in the semi-final play-offs on Wednesday and might carry on where he left off last season when he nabbed out 42 batsmen in the Sounfoil Series

CAPE TOWN. – Andrew Puttick was excited and up-beat when he spoke about the life-line given to the Cape Cobras who slipped through the back door into the semi-final play-offs against the Sunfoil Dolphins on Wednesday.

But the Cape Cobras top-order batsman became even more animated when he stressed the importance of capitalizing on flying starts and converting 20’s or 30’s into at least two match-winning half-centuries.

The Cobras are the defending Ram Slam T20 Challenge champions. They face the Dolphins at Kingsmead in a match which will determine who will meet The Unlimited Titans at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday in the final of the domestic T20-showpiece.

“We spoke at length about our batting display, the Dolphins’ strengths and weaknesses and about our plans to win it,” Puttick said.

He said the Cobras have generally performed well in the power play, but would like to extend that into the middle period. “We generally have had flying starts, but we need to kick on.

“And we require two players to convert those 30’s into 60’s which will win us the game,” he said.

The Dolphins will rely heavily on a star-studded top-order with Morné van Wyk, Kevin Pietersen en David Miller their international power-hitters.

The Cobras possess at least four international bowlers who can rip through any top-order when the force is with them, and Wayne Parnell, Rory Kleinveldt and Robin Peterson are the most likely of those stars to inflict damage.

The Cobras have included Omphile Ramela in the group of 13 for the semi-finals against the Dolphins.

Lesiba Ngoepe practiced with a heavily strapped ankle on Tuesday at the nets at PPC Newlands, and has recovered well enough to take the field at Kingsmead.

Puttick and Peterson looked in particular good nick with the bat in their work-outs in the nets on Tuesday.

Richard Levi also had an extended net practice. Levi and Parnell would have key roles for the Cobras, and if they can get the visitors off to an explosive start, the Cobras might just force their way into their third successive domestic T20-final.

The Cape Cobras squad is: Justin Ontong (capt), Sybrand Engelbrecht, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, Lesiba Ngoepe, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Robin Peterson, Andrew Puttick, Omphile Ramela, Mthokozisi Shezi, Siya Simetu.