CAPE TOWN - Barely a fortnight ago, the Cape Cobras were no-hopers, a team adrift with the demands of T20 cricket. Commentators were referring to them as basement dwellers who would struggle to win a single game in the entire T20 Challenge competition.
It quickly dawned that something had to change. Fortunately for the people at Newlands plenty has. On Wednesday, in second place on the standings suddenly, they face the Knights in Kimberly in a completely different space.
They are now a confident team. Three straight wins before Friday evening’s inevitable washout in Durban, and the Cobras are a team looking to secure a home semi-final.
Part of the process of getting to this point was to disregard reputations. Senior players had to be read the riot act, and in some cases even dropped. It hurt, and so it should, but the results have been phenomenal upon their return.
Proteas 28-year-old seam bowler Dane Paterson was certainly one who heeded the wake-up call.
“It is not a nice thing to be left out. It becomes even harder once you play for the Proteas. You are expected to perform. If you are not performing, you have to be dropped. If I am off form then I have to be dropped. It was a bad thing, but in a way it was a good thing too,” Paterson said candidly.
The turnaround has been sensational with Paterson claiming 3/25 to close out victory over the Warriors last Wednesday at Boland Park. The Northpine resident attributes this performance to a couple of technical alterations which former Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt suggested, while a “mano-o-mano” chat with coach Ashwell Prince also paid dividends.
“I had a sit down with Ashwell. He told me what he was seeing. Then Charl Langeveldt popped in and just said my run-up was just indifferent. Started slowly, and all of (a) sudden fast at the crease. We just worked on maintaining a smooth run-up. That’s been the major difference,” Paterson explained.
The Cobras have an opportunity to cement their lofty second-position on the T20 Challange log as the Knights are currently on a downward spiral. The central franchise has only picked up two points - courtesy of a washout against the Highveld Lions - from their last three matches and will be down on confidence.
Nicky Boje’s team have become very reliant on their two premier batsmen Theunis de Bruyn and David Miller. Paterson believes that should the Cobras knock over the two Proteas, the Cobras will be in the driving seat.
“If we strike early, you are immediately putting the batting team under pressure. If we get the two main guys out, Theunis de Bruyn and David Miller, then we will be able to skittle them cheaply,” he said confidently.
Paterson certainly can’t do it his own and will need the support of the entire Cobras bowling attack. Young Ferisco Adams and left-arm spinner George Linde have hit form recently, and have been a great addition to the attack.
“Ferisco and George showed in that 2014 season when we won the RamSlam how well they did. We are starting off well again which gives us that momentum. We are only playing at 70 percent at the moment and it is scary that we still have that much left in the tank,” he said.
Cape Cobras squad: JP Duminy (c), Ferisco Adams, Qaasim Adams, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Rory Kleinveldt, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kyle Verreynne.