CAPE TOWN – In the depths of autumn the Cape Cobras face a week that will ultimately define their summer.
Under Ashwell Prince, the Cobras have regained their respect after a couple of seasons in the doldrums. They are a competitive force across all formats, and boast a group of young players who are the envy of the country.
It really has been an impressive turnaround, and Prince, his support staff, and co-captains Dane Piedt, JP Duminy and Rory Kleinveldt deserve plenty of credit for the effort they have put into the franchise.
But now they need to win something. As a group they have endured plenty of trauma through the season - on and off the field - but professionals are judged by silverware.
They played a superb brand of four-day cricket, with the young batsmen in particular, raising their game to the next level. The title would have been well-deserved, especially too for someone like skipper Piedt who bowled until his shoulder was virtually being held up by a sling.
But along came the Lions like thieves in the night. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Cobras, who had been sitting on top of the log all season only to see the trophy being grasped from their clutches with just three balls remaining of the season.
Then came the One-Day Cup, and a semi-final loss to the Titans.
But now the team have an opportunity to show they can win when it matters most - with a victory tomorrow in the T20 Challenge semi-final against the Warriors in East London.
SEMI-FINAL | Our CSA T20 Challenge semi-final has been confirmed for Wednesday at 16h30 at Buffalo Park, East London pic.twitter.com/zX5x1qRoq2— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) April 29, 2019
One of the young players who will have an integral role to play at Buffalo Park is Kyle Verreynne. The highly-talented 21-year-old has enjoyed a superb “second season”, and has been touted for higher honours throughout.
However, the shortest version at this stage of his fledgling career is not a natural fit, and only came back into the team last Sunday after a stuttering T20 Challenge due to Hashim Amla’s decision to focus on his preparation for the World Cup.
Verreynne opened the batting and struck a workmanlike 26 off 29 balls and will certainly need to raise the tempo if the Cobras are to get their batting unit firing again. He is, though, looking forward to helping his team get over the line.
“I think the boys are still excited to go out and play a semi-final. It has been a long season, but having not won anything yet, the guys are quite motivated to finish on a high. The whole squad is quite motivated to go out there and win a semi-final and win the trophy in the end,” Verreynne said.@ZaahierAdams