Judging by the squad assembled by the Buildnat Cape Cobras for the opening match of the T20 Challenge at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Saturday 12th November, the VKB Knights’ bowling attack should prepare them for an onslaught of Herculean proportions.
The Cobras’ top- and middle-order will be difficult to contain if they perform to their potential.
Five stars that played international cricket, is in the squad. Justin Ontong wore the captain’s armband for South Africa in January 2015 in a T20-match and will be the skipper at the Wanderers.
And the availability of at least three true all-rounders in Kieron Pollard, Jason Smith and GF Linde there, suggest the Knights might feel the heat.
Three members of the all-conquering Buildnat Cape Cobras bowling attack of 2014/2015 are reunited. Lind captured 14 wickets at an average of 15.50 in that Ram Slam T20 Challenge in which the Cobras won the final against the Knights by 33 runs.
Pollard finished with 14 wickets in that same campaign at an average of 14.57 while Dane Paterson ended with 13 scalps and took a match-winning 4-33 in the final.
Add the names of Rory Kleinveldt, Tshepo Moreki and Beuran Hendricks into the mix, and you have a team of immense potential.
The role of Ontong cannot be underestimated. He struck 225 runs in his previous four-day game and is arguably 100 percent more accomplished this season than last year.
Ontong battled in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge of 2015/2016. His off-side play was limited and he just could not rotate the strike.
He was a run-scoring machine in the subsequent Momentum One Day Cup competition in 2015/2016, and looks in fine form at present.
The ability of the management team to motivate, energize and inspire the team to perform to their potential will be a vital ingredient of the T20 Challenge success this season.
There is arguably very few squads in the domestic competition with the swashbuckling ability of the Cobras’ top- and middle-order. Ontong and Smith will have to play key roles in performing the dual roles of occupation and expansion, although Pollard is more than street-wise enough to do that as well.
Pollard is world-class and arguably one of the first names pencilled into a team in any part of the world if contracted. He is a match-winner with bat and ball, and if his mentorship is contagious, Smith, Petersen and Linde will emerge from this campaign infinitely more equipped to become future international T20-players.
The Buildnat Cape Cobras squad is: Justin Ontong (capt), Richard Levi, Zubayr Hamza, Cebo Tshiki, Beuran Hendricks, Jason Smith, Kieron Pollard, Aviwe Mgijima, Keegan Petersen, George F Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Tshepo Moreki.