The pool stage of the T20 Knock Out will wrap up at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein this weekend.
Division One sides the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins and North West Dragons, Division Two team the Eastern Storm, and SA U19 make up Pool C.
The Dolphins, under head coach Imraan Khan, stand out as strong favourites going into the opening round of games on Friday. The team features exciting young players like former SA U19 captain Bryce Parsons and rising star Thando Ntini, blended with seasoned pros.
Despite a disrupted pre-season due to the ongoing pandemic as well as the recent unrests in KwaZulu-Natal, Khan credits his team, which also includes a leadership group made up of a captain, Prenelan Subraye Khaya Zondo and Sarel Erwee, for managing to still prepare well.
“The boys responded to those setbacks incredibly well,” said Khan. “They have trained fantastically over the pre-season period and are now just looking forward to the competition.
“It’s an exciting start to the new competition, to the new season. T20 cricket is always an exciting format so the boys are really thrilled. As a team, we are certainly looking forward to pulling in some strong performances. Our big focus is sticking to our processes and hopefully, that will stand us in good stead during the course of the fixtures.”
In the Dragons camp, it’s a case of go out there and express yourself, according to head coach Monty Jacobs.
“I want the guys to go out there and have the freedom,” Jacobs said. “They are talented players and the main thing from the coaching staff, we have people like [assistant coach] Craig Alexander who has played a lot of cricket, we are just trying to get the guys to be calm and play fearless cricket.
“It’s about going out there and enjoying the game, hopefully, that way they can express their true talents.”
For the SA U19s, who will be playing against players aged between four to 10 years older, the preparations were a balancing act between school and cricket for the players and the coaching staff.
However, head coach, Shukri Conrad is eager to see his juniors showcase their ability this weekend in preparation for bigger moments that lie ahead.
“We certainly don’t see ourselves as underdogs,” he said confidently. “Although it’s an integral part of our preparation for the World Cup, we see this competition as one that we if we give a good account of ourselves and perform like we know we can, there’s no reason why we can’t be there in the quarter-final stages.
“It will also be good preparation from a mental side, how we cope with these sort of pressures that are similar to what the World Cup will bring.”
Execution is key for Eastern Storm head coach Sandile Masengemi regardless of the opponents. The side features a battle-hardened collection of provincial players, led by Sizwe Masondo, who have recent success in T20 cricket.
“Our process is pretty simple and it is to make sure we play game by game. We know we are in a good group but for us, we are not too worried about who we play against, we just have to make sure we are able to execute on the day,” Masengemi said.
“I believe if we play the brand of cricket we want to play, it doesn’t after who we play against, we will get positive results. We are not taking anything for granted, we just have to focus on our skills and execution, and if we are able to do that, we will play good cricket. I am really looking forward to our game on Friday and how these guys will play this weekend.”
All matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Hollywoodbets Dolphins: Prenelan Subrayen (captain), Sarel Erwee, Marques Ackerman, Thamsanqa Khumalo, Thando Ntini, Kerwin Mungroo, Daryn Dupavillon, Ottneil Baartman, Keegan Peterson, Ruan de Swardt, Grant Roelofson, Khayelihle Zondo, Jason Smith, Bryce Parsons, Odirile Modimokoane, Bradley Porteous.
North West Dragons: Nicky van den Burgh (captain), Senuran Muthusamy, Wesley Marshall, Eben Botha, Shaylen Pillay, Lesego Senokwane, Jason Oakes, Duan Jansen, Eldred Hawken, Chad Classen, Lwandiswa Zuma, Chris Britz, Tahir Isaacs, Johannes Diseko, Caleb Seleka, Heinrigh Pieterse.
Eastern Storm: Sizwe Masondo (captain) Grant Thomspon, Matthew Arnold, Tumelo Simelani, Jurie Snyman, Sinehlanhla Zwane, Wesley Coulentianos, Clayton August, Khwezi Gumede, Gionne Koopman, Tumelo Thlokwe, Nathan Steyn, Armand Erasmus, Thulani Tembela, Devon Botha, Danie Rossouw
SA U19: George van Heeren (captain), Liam Alder, Hardus Coetzer, Dewald Brevis, Michael Copeland, Ethan Cunningham, Valentine Kitime, GJ Maree, Aphiwe Mnyanda, Jesse Prodehl, Andile Simelane, Jade Smith, Kaden Solomons, Joshua Stephenson, Asakhe Tsaka.
Pool C fixtures:
Friday, 8 October
Dolphins vs North West Dragons (10:00)
Eastern Storm vs SA U19 (14:30)
Saturday, 9 October
SA U19 vs North West Dragons (10:00)
Eastern Storm vs Dolphins (14:00)
Sunday, 10 October
Dolphins vs SA U19 (10:00)
Eastern Storm vs North West Dragons (14:30)
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
You may also like