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Participating in the USSA week in December and striking two half-centuries bolstered Zubayr Hamza’s confidence and he is still on course to become the 100th Protea to be selected since South Africa’s reintroduction into the international fold in 1991/92.

Hamza, 23-year-old number-three batsman of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, was selected in a 13-man squad for the three-match test series against Pakistan starting at SuperSport Park in Centurion on 26th December.

Linda Zondi, convenor of the CSA national selection panel, described Hamza as one of the standout cricketers in domestic cricket over the past year and carried that form into the South Africa ‘A’ tour to India where he averaged 52 in the four-day series.

Hamza scored 59 in the win for the University of the Western Cape against the NMMU and added an unbeaten 59 against the University of Cape Town.

“Not only are there a number of provincial players in the USSA week, but it also gave me opportunity to spend time in the middle,” Hamza said.

Reflecting on his career to date, Hamza acknowledged the match against the Warriors when he was drafted into the side after injury to Simon Khomari, as a turning point of his career in 2017/2018.

He immediately struck 111 and added 237 runs for the second wicket with Pieter Malan against the Warriors.

In the 2017/2018 season he finished with 828 runs at an average of 69, having only scored 151 runs in four games in the previous season.

Hamza heaped praise on Ashwell Prince and said he explained to the players what is expected at this level and also what the psychological expectations are if you are to represent South Africa.

As a combination, Prince, coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, and Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, have had a big impact on his career.

Davids was the one that showed confidence in him and selected him for Western Province, while Prince, who played in 66 tests for South Africa, was instrumental in improving the mental aspect of his game. “Ashwell elevated the mental part of our game, having played for South Africa for a long time and knowing what is expected to be successful at that level.”

There is also a special “vibe” in the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team under the coaching of Prince and Davids, he added.

Andrew Puttick, batting consultant of Western Province and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, said, “contrary to articles floating around, which gave me credit for Zubayr’s evolvement, I have not worked with him much this season, the great work has been done by Coach Ashwell Prince and his assistant Faiek Davids and as Zuby stated, there have been massive contributions from Shukri Conrad during his time at the Academy and from SA ‘A’ coach Russell Domingo.”

“I am very proud of this selection of Zubayr into the South African squad and I’m equally chuffed with the impact that the coaching staff of Ashwell and Faiek has had in his selection for the 13-man squad of South Africa,” concluded Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

Centurions Janneman Malan and David Bedingham and strike bowler Tladi Bokako performed brilliantly in their first pre-season outdoor excursion for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Durban on Monday and Tuesday.

Bokako captured 5-44 in eleven overs and in tandem with Lizaad Williams (3-26 in eleven overs) had the top-order in disarray and limited the Dolphins to 173.

Malan scored an unbeaten 151, while Bedingham struck 101 and Ferisco Adams blasted 50. The new acquisitions threw their hat into the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras ring and stated their case to the selection committee.

“The new recruits put up their hands, gave themselves a sense of belonging and will draw confidence from this performance,” said Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

“Janneman scored runs all around the wicket. He was strong on the on-side, handled the short ball well and also scored richly on the off-side. He is tailor-made for white-ball cricket, but look at his first-class record (1943 runs in 23 matches at an average of 55.51). He has a strike-rate of almost 70 (67.96),” Davids said.

Davids also said Bedingham had matured markedly from the last time he saw him. His game plans were clear and he struck the ball hard, the assistant coach added.

“Tladi and Lizaad were phenomenal and had them against the ropes on 20 for five. The wicket was a bit sticky with green patches and they kept the ball up to the bat. Tladi is a bundle of energy with good lines and lengths and he nipped it off the seam nicely. He is super fit.

“Lizzy was machine-like. He was steady and hit the seam regularly,” said Davids.

They restricted the Dolphins to 173 all out.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras batted at a rate of 4.3 per over and scored 362 for eight in 83.2 overs.

In the subsequent T20 match between KwaZulu-Natal and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, the latter scored 167 for eight thanks to a splendid 70 by Zubayr Hamza and 40 by Adams. The hosts were limited to 133 for six and the Cobras won by 34 runs.

Mthiwekhaya Nabe, who took 2-32 in the two-day game, captured 1-35 in four overs, but the pick was Williams, who nabbed 2-12 in three overs. Bokako ended with 1-22 in three overs. George Linde struck twice in his four overs which cost 26 runs.

It was the second outdoor training match of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and an encouraging early performance against a strong foe.

 

Four dropped catches contributed to their defeat in a closely fought tussle that went down to the wire. And a full-house of points or just four wins in their last four matches are their targets as they embark on a tour to Potchefstroom, said Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

Davids said the Cobras dropped four chances which helped open the door to a Hollywoodbets Dolphins win at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday in a Momentum One Day Cup clash.

Sibonelo Makhanya and Kyle Nipper tormented the death bowlers and slammed 57 off 27 balls to propel the visitors from KZN to a four-wicket win with five balls to spare.

“It was very disappointing. We fought back nicely with the bat, but then let it slip,” he said.

Davids also pointed to the fact that the Buildnat Cape Cobras scored 12 half-centuries in the first six matches of the domestic show-piece, but could not convert one into a century.

“That is a very important factor, and we alluded to it in the team discussion. If your top-order score heavily, you can attack even more and with freedom in the last five overs,” Davids said.

It is a moot point. The Cobras fought like tigers to amass 271 runs, but if they could have capitalized on attractive early scores, the Dolphins might have been left chasing 320 on Wednesday.

Davids also said the death bowling needs attention as the bowlers sometimes missed their marks by one or two feet.

Dane Paterson did not produce the excellent Yorkers that he is domestically known for consistently.

He conceded 22 runs in seven balls in the 48th over to ease the burden on Makhanya and Nipper.

Davids said the death bowlers sometimes missed their mark by a foot or two feet and that contributed to the Cobras’ loss.

“We have to win our final four games. That is our simple mission and it starts at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday,” Davids said. “If we can win them with bonus points, that is even better,” he added.

The Cobras will be involved in a weekend double-header. They and the bizhub Highveld Lions clash on Friday and on Sunday, the Buildnat Cape Cobras will host the Warriors at PPC Newlands.

Remember, if you’re riding the Cape Town Cycle Tour, you get in to PPC Newlands for free on Sunday, click HERE to find out all the details

The squad is: Dane Piedt (Capt), Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Andrew Puttick, Zakhele Qwabe, Omphile Ramela, Dane Vilas (W/K), Lizaad Williams