On the back of KZN Inland’s impressive runners-up performance at the inaugural Africa T20 Cup last year, Cricket South Africa’s launch of the 2016 edition in Cape Town on Wednesday confirmed that Pietermaritzburg is set to enjoy hosting Group Stage action of the second staging of the pre-season tournament in September.
Involving thirteen of the country’s semi-professional affiliates as well as three African continental teams – Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe – the tournament serves as an opportunity for provincial players, as well as some Franchise players, to prepare for the approaching season.
Chosen as the venue for all Pool A clashes, the City Oval will see KZN Inland joined by Namibia, Western Province and North West from 2-4 September 2016.
“The forefront of this competition is the development of players from the semi-professional affiliate teams and their exposure to playing alongside franchise players,” commented Corrie van Zyl, CSA General Manager: Cricket.
“The feedback we have had from the coaches, captains and players has been extremely positive and going into the second season of this tournament we must look to build on what we have already achieved.”
2015 Africa T20 Cup semi-finalists KwaZulu-Natal have been drawn in the tough Pool D alongside hosts Boland, Eastern Province and Gauteng and will play at Boland Park in Paarl from 23-25 September.
Oudtshoorn and East London will play host to Pool B and C matches respectively while the venue for the Finals – scheduled for 30 September-1 October – is to be decided at the end of the Group Stage.
Competing teams will be playing for a winner’s cheque of R300 000 with matches to be televised live on SuperSport.
All affiliates are required to include at least two Franchise players in their respective squads and no more than four can play in any one match. In addition, all squads must include two under-21 players who have yet to play franchise cricket.
In a change from last season two matches each will be played on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday while the Finals Weekend will be completed on the Saturday to avoid a clash with the Momentum ODI Series match between the Proteas and Australia.
CSA will present all players with a special tournament cap as part of the organisation’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
Pool A (City Oval, Pietermaritzburg: 02 – 04 Sep):
KZN Inland, Namibia, Western Province, North West
Pool B (Recreation Ground, Oudtshoorn: 09 – 11 Sep):
South Western Districts, Northerns, Northern Cape, Kenya
Pool C (Buffalo Park Cricket Ground, East London: 16 – 18 Sep):
Border, Easterns, Free State, Zimbabwe
Pool D (Boland Park, Paarl: 23 – 25 Sep):
Boland, KZN, Eastern Province, Gauteng
Venue TBC, 30 September–1 October