With one trophy already in the cabinet for the 2015/16 season, KwaZulu-Natal Inland’s provincial side are looking forward to challenging for another when they take on Western Province at the Western Province Cricket Club from Thursday, 31 March – Sunday, 3 April in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup Final.
The season’s CSA Provincial T20 Challenge victors were in sublime form in the shortest format’s brief competition however it is their consistency and success over in their first class campaign that saw the side top Pool B and charge into this week’s final.
While key players such as Sarel Erwee continue to leave their mark at franchise level, senior players like Divan van Wyk, Kyle Nipper and Graham Hume will all look to provide the necessary support to captain Mbasa Gqadushe as they go in search of more silverware.
“When I first came across to KZN Inland I wanted to establish a winning culture,” explains head coach, Shane Burger. “We first did that in the one day stuff and this year’s goal was to carry that through in our first class cricket.”
“It has been great to see how the guys have continued the momentum from the shorter formats into the three-day competition and that winning has now become a bit of a habit.
“Nips (Kyle Nipper) has had a phenomenal season for us – probably his best yet and he just keeps getting better and better while Divan van Wyk has come back from being dropped from the franchise side and turned it around like a true professional.
“His attitude and willingness to help the youngsters has been superb and the way he has led from the front as one of our senior players has played a vital role in us achieving what we have thus far!” he added.
While the likes of Nipper, Van Wyk, Hume and Tshepang Dithole have all enjoyed franchise exposure previously, the challenge of facing up to a strong WP outfit – that has the potential of including a fit again Vernon Philander – is something the whole squad has embraced.
“Western Province will be a good team but regardless of who plays for them our guys will be ready and up for the challenge!” confirms Burger.
“I’m not sure if guys like Vernon (Philander) will play for them however embracing the challenge of playing against franchise and even national players is what it’s all about because ultimately that’s where we want our guys to playing anyway.”
With the Sunfoil Dolphins also set to do battle in Cape Town this weekend when they take on the Cape Cobras in a Sunfoil Series clash, the Sunfoil Cup final will unfold just down the drag at Western Province Cricket Club with an extra day’s play likely to add an extra dynamic to the mix this week.
“Western Province Cricket Club is a nice ground; I doubt if any four day cricket has been played there this season but hopefully it will be a good four day wicket,” says Burger.
“A four day final is something we’re not used to but to be honest I don’t think it changes things too much; the biggest thing is that the pressure is just applied over a prolonged period, but our guys are looking forward to the challenge!”
KwaZulu-Natal Inland Squad:
Mbasa Gqadushe (captain), Tshepang Dithole, Gareth Dukes, Graham Hume, Kushen Kishun, Divan van Wyk, Kurtlyn Mannikam, Attie Maposa, Lefa Mosena, Cyril Mthimkhulu, Kerwin Mungroo, Kyle Nipper, Ruhan Pretorius, Shane Burger (coach), Victor Xhoseni (assistant coach)