Pietermaritzburg cricket fans will get an early season bonus when a star-studded T20 match featuring a handful of Protea internationals and many Sunfoil Dolphins regulars takes place under the bright lights of the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday evening as the KwaZulu-Natal team for the Africa T20 Cup head inland to take on KwaZulu-Natal Inland in a warm up game before both teams line up their respective assaults on the debut edition of the T20 championships.
The KwaZulu-Natal team boasts the likes of T20 kingpin David Miller as well as recent Caribbean Premier League champion Cameron Delport in their ranks whilst they have also included the young Andile Phehlukwayo and national academy product Daniel Sincuba.
Coach of the KZN side Roger Telemachus highlighted the fact that the team will be relying fairly heavily on their two big guns in Miller and Delport.
“David Miller and Cameron Delport have proven themselves to be among the best game changers in this format anywhere in the world,” Telemachus mentioned.
“They can change the course of a game in a matter of balls.”
With a number of younger players in their ranks, Telemachus is looking forward to seeing how they go against some of the best cricketers in the country during the Africa T20 Cup in two weeks’ time.
“Some of our youngsters have already proven their worth at franchise level. Andile Phehlukwayo is a case in point and another is Sibonelo Makhanya who has captained South Africa at under-19 level.
“I gave a first outing to Jason Oakes as a wicketkeeper-batsman at the end of last season and I was impressed with what he contributed.
“Craig Kirsten has had a good season in England and I am hoping that he has finally put behind him the injuries that have plagued him over the last three seasons.
“He is a big man and, when he is fully fit, he can bowl as quickly as anybody in the country and get good bounce as well,” the coach added expectantly.
The Inland side will be bolstered by the services of South African pace man Kyle Abbott, top order batsman Imraan Khan as well as the big hitting left-hander Vaughn van Jaarsveld to add to their experienced squad that includes the likes of local Pietermaritzburg men Kyle Nipper and Sarel Erwee.
Inland get their Africa T20 Cup campaign underway on Friday, 11 September against North West whilst their coastal neighbours will have to wait another week before they kick start their quest for smash and bash glory on Friday, 18 September against Eastern Province in Kimberly.
The game will renew a strong rivalry that has developed over the years when the Inland Cricket Union split from KwaZulu-Natal Cricket to form their own union and with players like Miller, having been schooled in Pietermaritzburg; it means that there is a little more significance to this fixture.
The match will start at 6pm at the City Oval with tickets costing just R10.
KZN Squad for the Africa T20 Cup: Cameron Delport, Khalipha Cele, David Miller, Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Daniel Sincuba, Sibonelo Makhanya, Andile Phehlukwayo, Craig Kirsten, Brandon Scullard, Jason Oakes, Rabian Engelbrecht, Mishkal Ramsaroop.
KZN Inland Squad for Africa T20 Cup: Kyle Abbott, Craig Alexander, Sarel Erwee, Mbasa Gqadushe, Imraan Khan, Sohail Mahmoud, Kurtlyn Mannikam, Attie Maposa, Lefa Mosena, Kyle Nipper, Ruan Pretorius, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo