The 2016 Africa T20 Cup’s arrival on the first weekend of September signals the start of the new domestic cricket season and KZN Inland are eager to go one better this time around than their runners-up effort last year.
The City of Choice’s Provincial side gets its 2016/17 campaign underway when the Pietermaritzburg Oval plays host to Inland and fellow Pool A contestants, Western Province, North West and Namibia on 2-4 September.
Having retained much the same squad to the one that clinched both the Sunfoil Cup three-day competition and CSA Provincial T20 Challenge titles last season, the 2015 Africa T20 Cup finalists are keen to again top their group and progress through to the knockout phase of the competition.
With Head Coach, Shane Burger currently serving as South Africa ‘A’ Assistant Coach during their tour of Australia, the squad will require the experience of Inland’s core of senior players and that of the Sunfoil Dolphins players included for the Africa T20 Cup to guide them.
Regular KZN Inland standouts, Kyle Nipper, Mbasa Gqadushe, Graham Hume and Ruhan Pretorius will look to successfully combine with their Franchise colleagues, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Craig Alexander, Mthokozisi Shezi, Sarel Erwee and Tshepang Dithole as well as emerging talent, Lefa Mosena, Sohail Mahmoud, Kurtlyn Mannikam and Attie Maposa.
The 16-team Africa T20 Cup – where great stories start – was launched in 2015 by Cricket South Africa and includes the country’s 12 Affiliate teams, Associate Member KZN Inland as well as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia.
Squads must include at least two Franchise players but may not field more than four in any one match while all squads must include two under-21 players who have yet to play franchise cricket.
The World Cup-style competition sees four pools of four teams contest the group stage over four consecutive weekends with the winning team from each pool progressing through to the semi-finals and eventually the final.
Pietermaritzburg’s hosting of Pool A’s fixture will pave the way for the tournament’s Pool C, B and D action to unfold in East London, Oudtshoorn and Paarl respectively.
The finals weekend will then take place on 30 September and 1 October with the venue of this knockout action to be confirmed after the conclusion of the group stage with the eventual tournament winner claiming the winner’s cheque of R300 000.
KZN Inland start their campaign on Friday 2 September with a clash against North West. Saturday 3 September sees the home side face up to a strong Western Province side before they take on Namibia on Sunday 4 September.
KwaZulu-Natal will also be in action later in the competition with their campaign getting underway in Paarl from 23-25 September when they square off against Boland, Eastern Province and Gauteng.
Cricket fans in Pietermaritzburg and surrounds are urged to enjoy their first dose of domestic cricket this season by purchasing tickets to the 2-4 September weekend’s action via www.ticketpros.co.za with adult tickets costing R40 each and child and pensioner tickets R30.