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Three members of the Standard Bank Proteas Test squad from the recent series against India, return to the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad to take on the Warriors starting at Newlands on Monday.

The Cobras are relishing their first home appearance of the season and assistant coach Faiek Davids admits they are keen to make an immediate impression as they welcome back Captain Dane Piedt, George Linde and Zubayr Hamza.

The hosts have been on the road in their opening three matches, and, although they have not managed a win just yet, they have been extremely impressive.

“We’re very excited to be at home for the first time this season,” Davids enthused ahead of the Newlands encounter. “I see there’s some weather around though, but hopefully it will clear because we want to play.

“We know we’re just a win away from being in the top two or three. So, we’re not panicking and haven’t been at any stage.

“We’re well aware that we’re doing the right things, we were close in the first game, we put the (Momentum Multiply) Titans under pressure in the second one and then this last one as well, we’re playing good cricket.

“We’re not chasing anything because we know as long as we’re doing the right things we will be rewarded.”

The Cobras lost a low-scoring opening match to defending champions the Imperial Lions in Potchefstroom, but then came close to winning both their next two games against Titans and this past week at the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg.

They were just four wickets shy in each of those draws, but Davids did not let those results get him down.

“I thought we played very good cricket, we did well to restrict them to 325 and then to respond the way we did with the bat in hand was fantastic,” he added, reviewing the past week.

“There was a magnificent career-best there from Matthew Kleinveldt, a superb century from Janneman (Malan) as well and then a brilliant second wicket partnership, awesome stuff to watch.

“Then there was that fine innings by Kyle Verreynne as he has already done so many times this season.

“I think we ticked most of the boxes there. It’s just the pitch did not deteriorate enough for us to get over the line in the end. But it was a fantastic effort and extremely satisfying.”

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras Squad: Dane Piedt (c), David Bedingham, Tladi Bokako, Zubayr Hamza, Matthew Kleinveldt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Akhona Mnyaka, Thando Ntini, Dane Paterson, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne

 

 

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras assistant coach Faiek Davids believes that wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Verreynne possesses all the right attributes to fare brilliantly on the South Africa A tour to India.

Verreynne received a late call-up to replace the injured Gihahn Cloete.

“First of all I think he was unfortunate not to have been picked in the first place. The call-up is a good feather in his cap and I am proud of him,” said Davids.

 The diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman shone in the Four Day Franchise Series and in the Momentum Cup series last season. He struck 583 runs at an average of 44.84 in the four day arena. His only regret is possibly that he did not convert one of his half-centuries into a ton. His best score was 89.

In the Momentum One Day Cup he was at the top of the list of batting averages of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, striking 453 runs at an average of 64.71. His best contribution was a superb unbeaten 114.

“He plays spin well, he plays the ball late and possesses good options to get off strike.

“Furthermore he is grounded and a very focused batsman,” he said.

 “I was quite happy to get the call up. Obviously it is a new platform to showcase my talent. It is an opportunity to play and show what you are capable of on a bigger stage,” said Verreynne.

“How many international careers were birthed because of an unfortunate injury. Kyle must just grab the opportunity with both hands,” said Davids.

 Verreynne is a gritty, yet attacking batsman who plays fluently on both sides of the crease. During the past two seasons he has grown in stature and his dogged determination has saved his team on a number of occasions.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras assistant coach Faiek Davids has backed Hashim Amla to come good and hopes the CSA T20 Challenge encounter against the Warriors at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Friday is when the veteran batsman will find his touch again.

The Standard Bank Proteas opener, who turned 36 last month, has been forced to take time off from competitive cricket in recent months due to family reasons.  He has also not been in the best of form, especially in the recent international series against Sri Lanka.

But he did show plenty of promise to start the year when South Africa beat Pakistan, raising hope that he was back to his best again. But he has hit a slump since then and failed to make too many runs in the first two matches of the competition.

But Davids has no doubt that Amla will soon turn the corner. “Hashim has obviously been on a bad run of form, but he is a quality player,” he said. “If he’s available to play then we’re happy to have him in the team. He is a massively experienced player and has a wealth of runs behind his name.

“We know he’s just one knock away from getting it right, so we back him and quite happy to have him here.”

The Cobras lost badly to the Multiply Titans in midweek, going down by seven wickets and conceding a bonus point in the process.

But Davids was still happy to have one win from the first two matches on the road ahead of a busy weekend.

“We’ve played two away games to start and will take one out of two against two strong sides,” he added. “We need to bounce back tomorrow and we know the importance of starting well at home.

“The guys are quite geared up, we had a bit of the rough end of the stick with the dew last night…but no excuses. We’re in Paarl now and need to set the record straight.”

Warriors coach Rivash Gobind, meanwhile, saw his side’s game against the VKB Knights in midweek abandoned on account of the weather.

The Eastern Cape side are top of the table at the moment and Gobind hopes they can stay there after the trip to the Cobras.

“It’s always nice to get some momentum going, but unfortunately we couldn’t get that after our game was abandoned,” he said. “That was out of our control and the weather is much more promising for tomorrow.

“We look forward to turning in a good performance against a Cobras side that we know is extremely dangerous.”

Coach Ashwell Prince has kept the same squad for Friday’s match in Paarl.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Rory Kleinveldt (capt), Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Dane Paterson, David Bedingham, George Linde, Hashim Amla, Janneman Malan, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Simon Khomari, Tladi Bokako, Vernon Philander

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