Raise your head above the clouds, Kyle Verreynne urges Western Province

Kyle Verreynne’s Western Province team don’t have too much time to dwell on the Four-Day Series final defeat, with the T20 Challenge starting tomorrow. Photo: BackpagePix

Kyle Verreynne’s Western Province team don’t have too much time to dwell on the Four-Day Series final defeat, with the T20 Challenge starting tomorrow. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 7, 2024


For a team that had just lost the Cricket SA Four-Day Series final in the most dramatic of circumstances, Western Province were in surprisingly good spirits yesterday.

It was not that the 99-run defeat to the Lions in the final last week was not still hurting, but rather the fact they have helped restore an element of respect for the embattled union.

Prior to the start of the 2023/24 season, there had been no men’s team based at Newlands that had secured any trophy for eight seasons.

But this has already changed, with Province winning the 1-Day Cup and then going on to qualify for the first-class final, despite being fifth with two rounds to play.

“I can easily sit here and say we were in winning positions – which we were – but the Lions fought their way back whenever we put them under pressure,” captain Kyle Verreynne said yesterday, ahead of the start of the CSA T20 Challenge tomorrow.

“They were the log leaders, and sometimes you have to say that they were better than us.

“Two weeks before the final we were fifth, and then we won two matches convincingly to get to the final.

“You always want to win, but sometimes you have to look at the whole package.

“We won the 1-Day Cup unbeaten, and then we finished second in the next competition, pushing the log leaders to the final afternoon on the last day.

“So, sometimes you need to raise your head above the clouds.”

Province certainly don’t have too much time to dwell on the final defeat for much longer any way, with the T20 Challenge starting tomorrow.

Verreynne’s side head off to Durban (6pm start) to face a powerful Dolphins team that contains the No 1-ranked ODI bowler in the world, Keshav Maharaj, along with SA20 bowler of the season Ottniel Baartman.

But the skipper is not too fussed about the opposition, especially with his team being able to call on Proteas Test star David Bedingham again after he missed the last two rounds of red-ball cricket due to having to return to England for his passport eligibility.

Equally, Province will have ace strike bowler Nandré Burger back after the left-arm seamer recovered from the heel injury that ruled him out of the Wanderers final.

Burger will only be available for tomorrow’s clash against the Dolphins at Kingsmead and Sunday’s match against the Tuskers at Newlands (2pm), though, before he jets off to India on Tuesday to join up with the Rajasthan Royals for his first Indian Premier League jaunt.

Unfortunately, all-rounder George Linde is not back from the Pakistan Super League yet, while Wayne Parnell is still unavailable due to flu.

Much of Province’s fortunes in the T20 competition will undoubtedly rest with their skipper Verreynne.

After initially being viewed as more of a longer-format batter, Verreynne has exploded this season, with his strike rate in both the CSA 1-Day Cup and CSA Four-Day Series being 120.46 and 88.64 respectively.

Verreynne took this positive outlook into the SA20, where he smashed his maiden T20 century, which was also the highest score in the history of the competition.

Crucially, he did that while batting in the key No 3 position, although he is not yet sure if he will be taking guard there tomorrow, with Bedingham back in the line-up.

“Ask the coach where I am going to bat,” he said, looking across to Province coach Salieg Nackerdien, “but I’ll do whatever is best for the team. We have plenty of capable options.”

Western Province Squad

Kyle Verreynne (captain), Tony de Zorzi, Abdallah Bayoumy, Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Daniel Smith, Gavin Kaplan, George Linde, Kyle Simmonds, Mihlali Mpongwana, Nandré Burger, Wayne Parnell, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Wesley Bedja, Eddie Moore, Onke Nyaku, David Bedingham, Jono Bird.