CAPE TOWN - The Sunfoil Series gets underway on Tuesday with all six franchises in action around the country. Independent Media writer Zaahier Adams analyses the first round of fixtures.
Knights vs Cobras
The Knights may have built their championship-winning campaign on the strike power of Duanne Olivier and Marchant de Langer last season, but they will be forced to do without the latter this week due to his Kolpak commitments with Glamorgan.
The Cobras have, meanwhile, lost both Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell. Although it was expected that Philander would not play due to Cricket South Africa’s fitness guidelines, Parnell was supposed to be raring to go. However, the left-arm seamer injured his groin during a gym session over the weekend and is unavailable for the trip to Bloemfontein.
Both batting units have, though, been strengthened with the addition of their World XI stars who did duty in Pakistan last week. Hashim Amla is back for the Cobras and will form part of formidable middle-order that also includes Proteas star Temba Bavuma.
Equally, the Knights have David Miller within their ranks and he will look to form a solid partnership with his captain and new Proteas cap Theunis de Bruyn.
Squads for Bloemfontein:
Cape Cobras: Dane Piedt (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.
Knights: Theunis de Bruyn (c), Grant Mokoena, David Miller, Rudi Second, Luthando Mnyanda, Keegan Petersen, Werner Coetsee, Pite van Biljon, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Duanne Olivier, Mbulelo Budaza, Otneill Baartman, Eddie Leie.
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Titans vs Dolphins
Titans coach Mark Boucher has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, starting with Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, who is back from leading the World XI in Pakistan. Morne Morkel was on the same plane from Lahore and will lead the Titans attack. Fellow Proteas Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar will also be in action for the “Light Blues”. Boucher did have one further surprise though, with former SA U-19 captain Aiden Markram named as the Titans captain for the season.
The Dolphins, though, relish the underdog tag and will no doubt enjoy a good scrap up at SuperSport Park. Classy Proteas left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj will lead this fight, along with another big-hearted performer Andile Phehlukwayo.
Squads for centurion:
Titans: Aiden Markram (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Tony de Zorzi, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Rowan Richards, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, Jonathan Vandiar.
Dolphins: Cody Chetty, Rabian Engelbrecht, Sarel Erwee, Rob Frylinck, Keshav Maharaj, Sibonelo Makhanya, Khaya Zondo (capt), Senuran Muthusamy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Calvin Savage, Mthokozisi Shezi, Prenelan Subrayen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Morné van Wyk.
Arrived safely back home .Thank you Pakistan and Lahore for your hospitality ✌🏻 pic.twitter.com/EI11mU34o9
Lions vs Warriors
The Lions will be looking to attack the Lions with a fearsome pace unit, which will be led by Proteas superstar Kagiso Rabada in a rare appearance for his domestic franchise. Rabada will be joined by new signings Beuran Hendricks and Craig Alexander, who both have the ability to hit the 140km/* mark. Equally, Proteas limited-overs all-rounder Dwayne Pretorius will add significant bite to the Lions attack.
The visitors, meanwhile, are hamstrung with three of their key players - Colin Ackermann, Colin Ingram and Simon Harmer - all unavailable due to their Kolpak commitments in England. Ackerman is a particularly big loss as the top-order batsman was the leading run-scorer in the Sunfoil Series last season.
Squads for the Wanderers:
Lions: Stephen Cook (capt), Reeza Hendricks, Omphile Ramela, Rassie van der Dussen, Nicky van den Bergh, Dwaine Pretorius, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Craig Alexander, Ayavuya Myoli, Dominic Hendricks, Wiaan Mulder.
Warriors: Andrew Birch, Gihahn Cloete, Clyde Fortuin, Aya Gqamane, Sisanda Magala, Eddie Moore, Lesiba Ngoepe, Anrich Nortje, Jerry Nqolo, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Yaseen Vallie, David White.