Ram Slam T20 Challenge Preview: 4 December

Written by Jason Dewey for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

The Ram Slam T20 Challenge is fast approaching its  December 12 finale, and while the Titans have already secured a home final, the Cobras, Dolphins, Warriors and Lions are all still in with a shout of qualifying for the eliminators.

Sunfoil Dolphins 1/1
Draw 35/1
Cape Cobras 8/10
After an emphatic start to their campaign which saw them win their five opening games, the Sunfoil Dolphins have gone off the boil in spectacular fashion. Ever since losing Kevin Pietersen to the Melbourne Stars, the Dolphins’ batting – with a few exceptions here and there – has been nothing short of dire.

The KZN franchise’s season has been marred by a series of stunning collapses – the worst of which came last time out against the VKB Knights in Port Elizabeth. In that game Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Morne van Wyk and Khaya Zondo were all dismissed cheaply, putting enormous pressure on the middle-order to deliver.

The men from KZN would eventually finish on 82-9 after their 20 overs, effectively ending the game as a contest. So where to now for the beleaguered franchise? The good news is that they still remain in pole position to grab third place. Standing in their way, however, will be a Cape Cobras side still smarting from their Wednesday evening loss to the Warriors.

Wayne Parnell was again promoted to the top of the order where he scored his second 70+ score in as many games. Chasing down the Warriors’ 153 on Wednesday night, Parnell was the only Cobras batsman who really got going, unfortunately for the Cape franchise, however, his unbeaten 74 wasn’t enough with his side falling 12 runs short of their target.

The good news for the Cobras is that Richard Levi has recovered after being struck in the head and will likely team up with Parnell at the top of the order. Whether or not the Dolphins can deal with this double dose of belligerence remains to be seen.

The Dolphins are going to need to put on a much better batting display if they’re going to get anything out of their final pool match. There’s been no evidence of late that they’re capable of producing the sort of batting performance that’s required to beat an in-form Cobras team. Back the men from Cape Town to get the job done at 8/10.

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Chevrolet Warriors 9/10
Draw 35/1
VKB Knights 9/10
The Warriors still have an outside chance of qualifying for the eliminator thanks to two superb performances that saw them down the Dolphins and the Cape Cobras. The Knights, on the other hand, have found their form too late and don’t stand any chance of progressing further in the competition.

The hosts were last in action against the Cape Cobras on Wednesday night in which they scored a surprise victory over their second-placed opponents. JJ Smuts top scored with 61 off just 40 deliveries on an evening where he found himself demoted down the order. The gamble paid off as he was ably supported by Colin Ackermann and David White who both chipped in with scores of 34 and 30 respectively.

The batting display was capped off with a fine bowling performance in which all six of the Warriors’ bowlers kept it tight. It was only Wayne Parnell who really troubled the attack, scoring 74 off 60 balls at the top of the order.

Standing in their way will be a fired up VKB Knights side who have won their last two games against the Lions and the Dolphins. The Likes of Rilee Rossouw, Reeza Hendricks and Theunis de Bruyn have started to show what they can do with the bat, albeit a bit too late in the season.

They’ve also been backed by a solid enough bowling unit who have been capably led by Andre Russell. The big West Indian quick has been in superb form of late, his standout display coming against the Dolphins where he finished on figures of 4-1-15-3.

This is quite a difficult game to call, although, with more to play for, I think the Warriors will put in a big performance and secure the win at (9/10)

The Unlimited Titans 5/10
Draw 35/1
bizhub Highveld Lions 31/20
It’s do-or-die time for the bizhub Highveld Lions as they travel to Pretoria to take on the all-conquering Unlimited Titans who've already secured a home final. The only blip on the Pretoria franchise’s record was an opening day defeat to the Sunfoil Dolphins, winning all seven of their subsequent matches.

The Titans put in a dominant performance last time out against the Warriors, easily beating the Warriors by 40 runs at St. George’s Park.

Quinton de Kock and Henry Davids have been outstanding this season for the Pretoria franchise, consistently laying down solid foundations, taking the pressure off their big-hitting middle and lower order. This allows the likes of Albie Morkel, Farhaan Behardien, David Wiese and Chris Morris to launch the Titans to some massive totals.

The bizhub Highveld Lions have only themselves to blame if they don’t qualify for the eliminator. Their wildly inconsistent form has seen them win only three of their eight games, leaving the Johannesburg franchise on the brink.

If they are going to come out on top against this Titans side, they’re going to need Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso to be at their brilliant best. The two spinners have been excellent in the middle overs, restricting opposition scoring rates and picking up valuable wickets in the process.
The Lions have struggled with the bat this season and I simply don’t see them scoring enough runs to trouble a belligerent Titans batting line-up. Back the home side to win at 5/10.Bet on these matches now at Hollywoodbets.net! Haven’t got an account? Open one here now