CSA T20 Challenge: Friday 25 November Preview

Batsman plays shot.

We've got another full set of fixtures coming our way in the CSA T20 Challenge on Friday afternoon / evening. 

Cricket fans will have been left disappointed after the weather decided not to play ball at PPC Newlands on Wednesday night.

Fret not though, as there’s a full set of fixtures coming your way on Friday night! The VKB Knights host our own Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Bloem while the Multiply Titans and the BuildNat Cape Cobras do battle at Centurion. The evening’s only televised fixture sees the Warriors welcome the bizhub Highveld Lions to the festive St. George’s Park.

VKB Knights 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | Hollywoodbets Dolphins 23/20

Please note that this game has been moved forward from 18:00 to 14:00.

The Knights are probably a bit unlucky to find themselves in fifth place on the standings. Nicky Boje’s men probably should have claimed victory against the Titans where David Miller smashed a 61-ball 120 as the Free State franchise posted 185-6 in their 20 overs.

The Free Staters would go on to lose that match as David Wiese’s late show ensured that the Titans chased the total down with the last ball of the innings. They were poor next time out against the Warriors where without Miller, they got nowhere near the PE sides’ total of 157, responding with a paltry 115 in pretty good batting conditions.

Grant Morgan’s Hollywoodbets Dolphins have experienced contrasting fortunes so far this season. A rained out game against the Cobras was preceded by two heavy defeats to the Warriors and the Titans as well as a good win against the Lions.

Morne van Wyk has been solid at the top of the order after struggling with the bat in the Sunfoil Series. The Dolphins’ captain has managed scores of 41, 60 and 22 in the three games he’s played, always setting a solid foundation on which the middle order has battled to capitalise on.

Cameron Delport has been less consistent with the bat, but has shown his worth with the ball. He claimed career-best figures of 4-17 against the Lions to go with the 93* he scored in the same match.
As I mentioned earlier, the Dolphins’ middle order is going to need to step up to the plate. The likes of Khaya Zondo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Kyle Nipper haven’t been good enough; and will be feeling the pressure.

I like the look of both of these teams. I don’t think that the Dolphins should be priced up at 23/20 – it should probably be more along the lines of 9/10 each way. As such, I’ll be taking the KZN side to come good. 

Warriors 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | bizhub Highveld Lions 5/4
The Warriors come into this game having claimed two wins from their three games. Two convincing wins against the Knights and the Dolphins sandwiched a disappointing 12-run loss away to the Cobras.

JJ Smuts and his boys will be confident heading into their first home game of the season. Andrew Birch has been the hero for the Eastern Cape franchise, taking eight competition wickets in just three games. He’s kept things tight at the start of the innings and picked up wickets at regular intervals – more of the same will be expected against a Lions side who have been pretty dismal thus far.

If Birch has been the hero with the ball, then Smuts and Colin Ackermann have been the Warriors’ champions with the bat. The duo have amassed 203 runs between them thus far in the competition and look set to be the anchors for all of the Warriors’ innings this year.

The Lions were always going to struggle in this tournament. Their squad simply isn’t equipped to deal with T20 cricket. Hardus Viljoen – for all of the fire and brimstone – is expensive. His supporting cast of Willem Mulder and Matt McGillivray have also been expensive without posing much of a wicket threat.

Far too much responsibility is placed at the feet spin twins Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso. They’ve not been as effective as they were last season, although that could all start to change in Port Elizabeth where there should be plenty of turn on offer.

The Highveld side don’t really have much in the way of consistent batting talent. Rassie van der Dussen will need to stick his hand up. Nicky van den Bergh and Mangaliso Moshle has shown they can do the job – it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they can do it consistently now.

The Warriors are rightly favourites here. However, having said that I think the one place that the Lions can dominate a side is at St George’s Park. Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso have the quality to restrict and run through the Warriors’ line-up, as such I’m tipping them to come good at 5/4.

Jockey riding horse

Multiply Titans 53/100 | Tie 35/1 | BuildNat Cape Cobras 31/20
The Titans have been a different class this season and it’s shown in their results. They’ve won all of their matches convincingly – save for their game against the Knights. Albie Morkel has been magnificent once again this season, giving the South African selectors something to think about.

He’s got the best economy rate of any bowler in the competition at 4.75 off his 12 overs, picking up five wickets along the way. Morkel’s been just as effective with the bat, scoring 77 runs at an incredible 157.14.

Heino Kuhn, Heinrich Klaasen and Farhaan Behardien have also been magnificent with the bat. The trio have all scored more than 110 each in four games. They’ve got their runs at astonishing strike rates too: 183.33, 154.34 and 141.25.

The BuildNat Cape Cobras have only managed to get one win under their belts this season. That win came against the Warriors at Newlands on 18 November where Wayne Parnell and Kieron Pollard got 61 and 50 respectively.

Interestingly enough, Pollard has been promoted to captain of the Cape side at the expense of Justin Ontong who has had a pretty dismal season. The West Indian superstar has been magnificent with the bat and solid with the ball. Without him there, the Cobras could have copped some serious beatings this season.

The Titans have far too much talent in their squad to be troubled by the Cobras. Back them win easily at 53/100.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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