Rory Kleinveldt has unfinished business in Friday’s 1-Day Cup final against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers.
Last season, the Cape Cobras opening bowler enjoyed a superb one-day series. He bowled at good pace and was rewarded with plenty of wickets, second only to teammate and new-ball partner Charl Langeveldt.
However, with the return of the Proteas for the knockout stages, Kleinveldt lost out on a place in the final and was forced to watch the Cobras beat the Warriors at a packed Newlands from the sidelines.
“Yeah, it was disappointing, especially since I was bowling quite well, but it’s not about personal success. The team went on to win the final, and we all share in that success,” Kleinveldt said.
In an ironic twist, Kleinveldt is now a returning Proteas international after playing two Tests on the recent tour of Australia.
It helps coach Paul Adams’s selection puzzles that Langeveldt has been ruled out of the final through injury, but with the form Kleinveldt is in currently, it would be simply ludicrous to overlook him for this season’s finale.
He may only have taken one wicket in the semi-final on Sunday against the Titans, but the burly seamer hit his lengths from the outset, and should have had Jacques Rudolph caught behind early on, only for the umpire to rule not out when the edge could have been heard in Wynberg.
The 28-year-old has clearly benefited from his brief stint on the Test circuit, where he learnt valuable lessons in bowling to great Australian players like Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey on unresponsive pitches in Brisbane and Adelaide.
“I won’t say it’s easier now coming back to domestic cricket, because there are certainly good players at this level, but it’s more about your own confidence. Perhaps it is a mental thing, where you now believe in your own abilities a bit more,” Kleinveldt added.
Kleinveldt will certainly be a big part of the Cobras’ arsenal on Friday when they face a dangerous Lions top-order. Stephen Cook has been one of the leading run-scorers – third in fact – with 427 runs at 61.00.
Cook has transformed his game this season by being more adventurous in his strokeplay, resulting in a strike-rate of 91.25.
The Lions also have Test opener Alviro Petersen returning to the side, while 19-year-old wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock is always a threat at the top of the order.
The dimensions of the Wanderers outfield, with its short square boundaries, plus the nature of the pitch has traditionally made it a tough venue for bowlers in one-day cricket. The Bullring is a completely different beast to the sluggish Newlands surface, while the thin Highveld air also sees the ball travelling a lot further when it is struck.
Do Kleinveldt and the rest of the Cobras bowlers have any different plans to contain the Lions batsmen and counter the conditions in the showpiece game on Friday?
“There’s no doubt they have some dangerous batsmen right down their line-up, but we do technical analysis on all their batsmen, and will work on different plans to try and stop them from hitting their scoring areas,” he explained.
“On bowling at the Wanderers ... I actually enjoy it and have always enjoyed bowling there. There is always good bounce and carry, which really helps my bowling style as I like running in and hitting the deck hard.
“In terms of the length of the boundaries, you know what they are when you get to the Wanderers. I just try and bowl a lot fuller up in Joburg than down here at Newlands.” - The Star