We preview the first two matches of the 2016/17 Momentum One Day Cup.
With the T20 and First-Class competitions done and dusted for the season, the six South African franchises will now turn their attention toward List A duty.
We open things up on Friday as the Multiply Titans welcome the Hollywoodbets Dolphins to Centurion. Saturday sees the BuildNat Cape Cobras make the long trip to Bloemfontein to face the VKB Knights.
Friday 17 February
Multiply Titans 62/100 | Tie 35/1 | Hollywoodbets Dolphins 5/4
While this looks like a fairly straight-forward win for the Titans, you can’t discount the Durban franchise and their immensely powerful top order altogether. The biggest news coming out of the Titans’ camp is the availability of Morne Morkel as he looks to get himself fit for South Africa’s tour of England later this year.
Having said that, they’ll be without all of their regular internationals as well as Lungi Ngidi, with the quick still recovering from a hip injury he sustained in the third T20 against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins, on the other hand, are in a rebuilding phase at the moment. With Morne van Wyk stepping down as captain, Khaya Zondo now needs to fulfil the potential he showed prior to being called up to the South African side that toured India last year.
Grant Morgan needs Morne van Wyk and Vaughn van Jaarsveld to get runs on the board so that the likes of Zondo, Robbie Frylinck and Keshav Maharaj can accelerate toward the back end of the innings. Should the top order stalwarts fail to get the job done, I simply can’t see the Dolphins getting anything out of this game.
While the Dolphins look solid enough, I think it’ll take a massive performance to get one over the Titans at Centurion. The East Coasters are far too reliant of their top three to get the runs, and on a quick wicket with Morkel steaming in, I just don’t fancy it. Back the Titans here at 62/100.
Saturday 18 February
VKB Knights 1/1 | Tie 35/1 | BuildNat Cape Cobras 82/100
The Knights, under the guidance of Nicky Boje, have quietly gone about putting together a very strong squad. Add to this the fact that they’ve only lost David Miller to the national set-up, and one can begin to see this side going all the way this season.
Their first test will come against the bookmakers’ outright favourites, the BuildNat Cape Cobras. With Paul Adams out of the picture, Ashwell Prince will be looking to deliver the Momentum One Day Cup in his first year as the Cobra’s head coach.
In order to do this, they’ll need to get off to the best possible start up in Bloem or risk being blown away by the deadly combination of Duanne Olivier and Marchant de Lange. With all eyes on the Knights’ attack, it’s easy to forget that they possess some of the best franchise-level batsmen in the country.
Rudi Second averages 47.86 in List A cricket while everyone is aware of the talent that Theunis de Bruyn and Pite van Biljon have. De Bruyn will be looking to build on his first call-up to the national side with a solid showing in List A cricket.
The Cobras will be able to call on the services of Vernon Philander after he was left out of the limited-overs squad doing duty in New Zealand. The burly seamer will want to impress, especially after comments from Charl Langeveldt suggesting that he could be the answer to South Africa’s new ball problem in white ball cricket.
I really like the look of this Knights side. I reckon they can go all the way this season and will be especially difficult to beat at home. Expect a high-scoring affair with the Free State side bagging their first win of the season.