JP Duminy joined up with Cobras for Wednesday’s evening bonus-point victory over the Knights at Newlands and will now be joined by his fellow Proteas teammate Hashim Amla for Friday’s all-important clash against the Warriors at St George’s Park.
Amla’s addition to the Cobras squad will further beef up a batting line-up that has struck form in the last two matches. The Cobras chased down a stadium record 179 last Sunday against the Dolphins at Kingsmead before flaying the Knights attack at Newlands.
The home team raced to 152/2 in just 14.4 overs to secure the much-needed bonus point with all the senior batsmen contributing heavily. Opener Richard Levi blazed a second consecutive half-century with his 58 coming off just 32 balls. Levi’s innings included nine boundaries and two sixes.
Levi’s opening partner Wayne Parnell was not as rapid but his 34 from 32 balls was equally important. This was the ideal platform for Duminy (13 not out) and captain Kieron Pollard to close out the contest in no time at all. Pollard was particularly destructive with the big West Indian smashing 39 off only 12 balls (3x4, 4x6).
The recent form of the Cobras top order will certainly leave coach Paul Adams and his assistant Ashwell Prince with a fair pickle in terms of where Amla will actually slot in.
The Proteas superstar opens the batting for the national team in T20 cricket where he has posted over 1000 runs in just 37 matches at an average of 31.50. Amla’s introduction at the top of the order will necessitate Parnell being moved back down the order.
Boland batsman Cebo Tshiki has therefore dropped out of the squad with seam bowler Tshepo Moreki earning a recall. Moreki’s inclusion will certainly add greater balance to the Cobras squad as Tshiki hasn’t batted in the Cobras’ past four matches.
The situation of the game has forced Tshiki to drop lower down the order on occasion, but this situation cannot be beneficial to the growth of the franchise or the player. All-rounder Aviwe Mgijima’s plight is even worse with the 28-year-old not batting or bowling in six of the Cobras’ last seven T20 Challenge matches.
At least Moreki can expect to form an integral part of the Cobras bowling line-up at St George’s Park. The 23-year-old is a promising seamer that bowls at a rapid pace and swings the ball away nicely from the right-hander, although he does have a tendency to be too short on occasion.
The Cobras will though be looking to their senior bowlers to once again lead from the front in the Windy City. Rory Kleinveldt was particularly good with the new ball at Newlands while Parnell and Pollard kept a tight rein on proceedings during the middle overs.
Both were economical but also importantly picked up crucial wickets to keep the run-rate in check. The sluggish St George’s Park surface will assist them both with Parnell knowing the pitch better than most having played the majority of his cricket in Port Elizabeth before moving to Cape Town, while Pollard’s cutters will be very effective.
It certainly will be needed for the Warriors are the in-form team of the competition. The Eastern Cape side chased down a hefty 217 runs to win on Wednesday evening with captain Jon Jon Smuts smashing an unbeaten 107.
They too have bolstered their squad for Friday night’s clash with the inclusion of Proteas bowling hero Kyle Abbott and former Cobras and Titans batsman Qaasim Adams on loan for the last two matches of the campaign.
COBRAS SQUAD FOR PE
Kieron Pollard (capt), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Nkululeko Serame, Dane Vilas.
Original source: Amla boost for Cobras