The Cape Cobras, one of South Africa’s most decorated franchises since its inception and a powerhouse, will kick off their campaign for the coveted domestic triple-crown with a Sunfoil Series clash against the bizhub Highveld Lions from 6th October at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium.
The Cobras squad has been strengthened by the return to form by a rejuvenated Wayne Parnell. Six of their stalwarts will be on tour with South Africa A, which gives the Cape Champions ample opportunity to bolster their self-confidence ahead of a packed domestic 2016/2017-season.
The Cobras have also signed two of the most talented young South African cricketers, Zubayr Hamza and Jason Smith, for their professional squad.
Hamza slammed 833 runs in the Sunfoil Three-Day Cup in 2015/2016, while Smith celebrated his first appearance for the Cape Cobras in a Momentum One Day Cup-match with a composed half-century.
The Cape Cobras, who hosted five of their past domestic limited-overs finals at PPC Newlands, start their Ram Slam T20 Challenge campaign on 12th November at the Wanderers against the Knights.
The tall, canny left-arm spinner GF Linde, currently at the national academy, will boost the Cobras’ slow-bowling resources.
The first Ram Slam T20 Challenge match at home will be against The Unlimited Titans at Boland Park in Paarl on 16th November.
PPC Newlands will play host to the Cape Cobras and the Warriors on the 18th November.
At the back-end of the pulsating T20-series, the darling of domestic crowds, the Cobras and the VKB Knights will contest the spoils at PPC Newlands on 7th December in the penultimate round of the series.
The Cobras finish off the league phase on the 11th December against the bizhub Highveld Lions on 11th December.
The availability of Kieron Pollard, undoubtedly a world-class T20-player whose match-winning exploits with bat and ball has made him the toast of PPC Newlands and the Queen’s Park Oval, will strengthen the Cobras’ middle-order.
The consistency of the Cape Cobras in Momentum One Day Cup matches has been unmatched in domestic cricket the past four years. They finished the league phase with 33 points in the 2015/2016-season, seven points clear of their nearest rival.
They begin their pursuit of a title on 18th February against the VKB Knights at the Manguang Oval and also play away against the Warriors at Buffalo Park in 22nd February.
The Cobras will host the Titans at PPC Newlands on 22nd February.
Smith has taken 22 wickets in 17 first-class matches and averages 25.59.
His progress will be monitored closely, and his swashbuckling ability with the bat will give the Cobras options in all three formats.
Five nationally contracted players will form part of the Cobras’ squad. They are Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Hashim Amla and Parnell, the 2015/2016-player of the season.
The Cobras boast the presence of two members of an elite 10 000-club. Andrew Puttick and Justin Ontong have both struck more than 10 000 first-class runs. Their appetite for runs is unsaturated.
Dane Vilas was the leading domestic Sunfoil Series batsman in 2015/2016 in terms of averages. The wicketkeeper/batsman was equally impressive in the Momentum One Day Cup competition, blasting 282 runs at an average of 141.
The competitive off-spinner Dane Piedt and the fast bowler Philander will welcome the presence of several challengers to their position in the South African team, a factor which will no doubt propel them to even loftier heights domestically.
The Cape Cobras fixtures in the Sunfoil Series are: October 2016: 6-9th October: bizhub Highveld Lions v Cape Cobras (Wanderers); 13-16th October: VKB Knights v Cobras (Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein), 20-23rd October: Cape Cobras v Warriors (PPC Newlands); 20-27th October: Cobras v The Unlimited Titans (PPC Newlands); November: 3-6th November: Cobras t Dolphins (Boland Park, Paarl); January: 5-8th January: Cobras v bizhub Highveld Lions (Recreation Ground, Oudtshoorn); 12-15th January: Warriors v Cape Cobras (Buffalo Park, East London), 26-29th January: Titans v Cobras (SuperSport Park, Centurion); February 2017: 2-5th February: Cape Cobras v VKB Knights (Boland Park, Paarl), 9-12th February: Dolphins v Cape Cobras (Kingsmead, Durban).
Momentum One Day Cup: 18th February 2017: Knights v Cobras (Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein); 22nd February: Warriors v Cape Cobras (Buffalo Park), 24th February: Cape Cobras v The Unlimited Titans (PPC Newlands), 26th February: Dolphins v Cobras (Pietermaritzburg Oval); 3rd March: Cape Cobras v bizhub Highveld Lions (Boland Park, Paarl), 8th March: Cape Cobras v Dolphins (Boland Park, Paarl), 10th March: Lions v Cape Cobras (Senwes Park, Potchefstroom), 12th March: Cape Cobras v Warriors (PPC Newlands); 19th March: Cape Cobras v VKB Knights (PPC Newlands), 23th March: The Unlimited Titans v Cape Cobras (SuperSport Park, Centurion);
Ram Slam T20 Challenge: 12th November: VKB Knights v Cape Cobras (Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, Johanesburg); 16th November: Cape Cobras v The Unlimited Titans (Boland Park, Paarl); 18th November: Cape Cobras v Warriors (PPC Newlands), 20th November: bizhub Highveld Lions v Cape Cobras (Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg); 23rd November: Cape Cobras v Dolphins (PPC Newlands); 25th November: The Unlimited Titans v Cape Cobras (Supersport Park, Centurion); 4th December: Dolphins v Cape Cobras (Kingsmead, Durban); 7th December: Cape Cobras v VKB Knights (PPC Newlands); 9th December: Warriors v Cape Cobras (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth); 11th December: Cape Cobras v bizhub Highveld Lions (Boland Park, Paarl).
The Cape Cobras squad is: Andrew Puttick, Dale Steyn, Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Wayne Parnell, Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong, Lizaad Williams, Hashim Amla, Omphile Ramela, Richard Levi, GF Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Vernon Philander, Stiaan van Zyl, Tshepo Moreki, George Linde, Zubyir Hamza, JP Duminy, Jason Smith, Keagan Petersen, Aviwe Mgijima.