We take a closer look at the chances of the three coastal franchises in the build-up to the Momentum One Day Cup.
Following a thrilling end to the Sunfoil Series, South Africa's six domestic franchises will now turn their attention to List A duty.
Below we'll take a look at the three coastal teams and how they're likely to fare in the Momentum One Day Cup.
BuildNat Cape Cobras 28/10
Oddly enough, the Cape side have been priced up as favourites at 28/10, despite under-performing in the CSA T20 Challenge and the Sunfoil Series. Much of this inconsistency probably comes down to the fact that a number of the franchise’s contracted players had been at war with former coach, Paul Adams.
The team will now work under the tutelage of Ashwell Prince after Adams was redeployed as the manager of the Western Cape Cricket high performance manager. Prince comes across as a far more level-headed coach and may well extract the best out of the wealth of talent at his disposal.
Despite losing Wayne Parnell to the national set-up, Prince can still call on the likes of Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Tshepo Moreki and Rory Kleinveldt - all of whom are more than capable at franchise level.
You simply can’t mention the Cobras without casting a thought to their immensely powerful top order. Richard Levi needs no introduction. His ability to dominate weaker bowling attacks up front is world-renowned, with the big right-hander having played in the IPL as well as in England over his career.
Andrew Puttick and Justin Ontong will provide the glue that holds the innings together while Levi goes wild. Stiaan van Zyl* and Dane Villas* round off one of the stronger middle orders in the competition.
There’s no doubting the quality that the Cape side possess in its ranks, however, a change in coach – albeit an assistant coach stepping into the main role – can take some time before it yields results. Expect a couple of big results, but muted overall performance from the Cape Town franchise.
Despite their incredible run to the final of the CSA T20 Challenge, I simply don’t see this spirited Warriors side repeating the feat in the longer format of the game.
All eyes will obviously be on Colin Ingram, Jon-Jon Smuts and Colin Ackermann* following their heroics in the CSA T20 Challenge. However, a soft underbelly in the form of a weak middle order may well find Malibonge Maketa’s team wanting in the latter overs.
The Warriors’ biggest threat lies with their two frontline seamers. Basheeru-Deen Walters and Andrew Birch operate brilliantly in tandem and can potentially run through the strongest top orders in the competition.
Batsman will need to be especially wary when Birch grabs hold of the ball. He’s often unerring in his line and length, picking up wickets for fun. He finished last year’s competition with 17 wickets in nine games at an average of 20.11. The nuggety quick is definitely one to watch this season.
Simon Harmer* will operate as the main spinner. While he’s far more effective in First Class cricket, the Pretoria Boys’ High School old boy could prove a tricky customer, especially in the Eastern and Western Cape where the ball may turn a bit more.
The Warriors sprinkling of top talent isn’t really enough to carry them through to later stages of the competition.
Hollywoodbets Dolphins 8/1
Truth be told, the Dolphins are in a bit of a rebuilding phase at the moment and don’t look likely to challenge for the title this season – their 8/1 outright price indicates as much. Losing the likes of David Miller (Knights), Kyle Abbott (Worcestershire) and Daryn Smit (Ramsbottom).
The latter will be available for the early stages of the season, although, it’s difficult to see him getting any game time unless Morne van Wyk picks up an injury.
If the KZN franchise are to sneak into the semi-final/play-off match this season, they’ll need their explosive top and middle order to deliver the goods. Cameron Delport, van Wyk and Vaughn van Jaarsveld are seasoned franchise cricketers capable of taking apart even the most dangerous bowling attacks.
While their batting line-up looks strong, I feel that the east coasters may well struggle with ball in hand. Robbie Frylinck is and will continue to be the main man while Keshav Maharaj’s participation in the competition will be limited should he crack the nod for the Proteas Test series in New Zealand.
While the Dolphins can turn it on and beat any team on their day, I just feel that they may lack the consistency needed for a title push. As much was evident in both the Sunfoil Series and the CSA T20 Challenge.
* Indicates that a player has signed a Kolpak deal.