CSA T20 Challenge: Friday 9 December Preview

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A fantastic evening's cricket is set to go ahead on Friday evening as the Warriors host the Cobras and the Knights travel to the Lions. 

We’re in for two more CSA T20 Challenge matches this Friday following what was an extraordinary round of Wednesday matches!

The BuildNat Cape Cobras travel to Port Elizabeth to take on the high-flying Warriors while the VKB Knights make the short trip the Potchefstroom to take on the bizhub Highveld Lions.

Friday 9 December

Warriors 9/10 | Tie 35/1 | BuildNat Cape Cobras 9/10 
The Warriors were involved in one of the best domestic T20 matches in recent South African memory on Wednesday – what a pity it wasn’t televised! After the Hollywoodbets Dolphins set a massive target of 216 to win the match, not many would have predicted that the PE franchise would canter across the finish line with an over to spare.

This came after the Morne van Wyk (77) and Kevin Pietersen (81) did the damage for the visiting side. They tore apart what has been an excellent Warriors attack, dispatching them to all parts of Buffalo Park. Only the man of the hour – Jon-Jon Smuts could curtail the flow of runs as he conceded 23 off his four overs.

Things looked bleak for the Eastern Cape franchise after Clyde Fontuin was dismissed for a duck inside the first over. This brought Colin Ackermann – and the carnage – to the crease. Smuts and Ackermann would go on to take the Warriors’ score to 108/1 before the latter was trapped in front by Imran Tahir.

Smuts carried on, however, recording his second T20 century as he finished unbeaten on 107 off just 58 balls. The Warriors’ captain has been excellent this season with both bat and ball and could well be on his way to a South African call-up if he can carry this form through to the Momentum One Day Cup.

The BuildNat Cape Cobras have come storming back into the competition following an ordinary start to the 2016/17 CSA T20 Challenge. Their latest win came against the rock-bottom VKB Knights on Wednesday evening.

Kieron Pollard has been the star for the Cape side this season. His contribution with both bat and ball has been the catalyst for the team to move past their off-field issues between the players and members of the coaching staff. He was again on song this past Wednesday taking two wickets and smashing a quick-fire 39 as the Cobras proved too venomous for the Knights.

Richard Levi has also started to find a bit of rhythm which will have opposition bowlers worried. The Warriors attack will do well to get through the Cobra’s top order quickly and with minimal fuss – failure to do so could result in the Cape side posting a sizeable score at St. George’s Park.

The Warriors have been absolutely world-class this season thanks to the exploits of Birch, Smuts and Ingram. Even though the Cobras seem to have turned a corner, I simply don’t see them getting a result in PE. Back the Warriors confidently at 9/10.

bizhub Highveld Lions 53/100 | Tie 35/1 | VKB Knights 31/20
Friday’s other game sees the bizhub Highveld Lions and the rock-bottom VKB Knights clash at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom. The Lions are still in with a sniff of the play-off places while the Knights have no chance and remain rooted to the foot of the table on five points from eight games.

The Lions were comfortably beaten at SuperSport Park Centurion on Wednesday evening by the excellent Multiply Titans. Having won the toss and electing to bowl, the Lions’ bowlers were immediately under pressure as Jonathan Vandiar and Aiden Markham let loose at the top of the order.

There would be further contributions from Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn, Albie Morkel, Farhaan Behardien and David Wiese as the reigning champions surged to 230-5 after their 20 overs.

The Johannesburg franchise were never going to get near that total, however, and put in a spirited display to get to 184-7. Although it wasn’t enough, Toyana would have been happy with the performance of his batsmen ahead of Friday evening’s game.

The quicker the CSA T20 Challenge ends, the better for the battered and bruised VKB Knights. They’ve lost all but one of their eight games so far this season and will have no doubt already shifted their focus to the Momentum One Day Cup.

They were soundly beaten last time out by the Cape Cobras and I just can’t see them getting anything out of their match against an ever-improving Lions side.

The Lions have been steady throughout the season without really setting the world alight. They will do their play-off chances a world of good with a solid win against the rock-bottom Knights. Back Geoffrey Toyana’s men to do just that at 53/100.  

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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