Hollywoodbets Dolphins Keshav Maharaj, Robbie Frylinck, Cameron Delport, Sibonelo Makhanya, Rabian Engelbrecht and Senuran Muthusamy will form the spine of the KwaZulu-Natal team taking on Boland, Eastern Province and Gauteng in Pool D of the Africa T20 Cup at Boland Park, Paarl this weekend.
The sextet will look to draw on their Franchise experience as well as their combined knowledge of the Provincial landscape to overcome three strong opponents in the final set of Pool stage fixtures in order to earn themselves a spot in the play-offs alongside the already qualified North West Seeff Dragons, Zimbabwe and Northern Cape next weekend.
“We’ve had a good build up,” explains KZN coach, Roger Telemachus.
“Some of the guys were overseas during the winter, playing in the UK or elsewhere, or with the national academy and SA ‘A’ setups.
“Those who have been around have been working hard with the Dolphins squad and so all in all the guys have already played a fair amount already so hopefully we can hit the ground running this weekend.”
Joining the more experienced campaigners in this weekend’s KZN outfit are KZN Academy graduates top order batsmen Bruce Kerr and Dudu Zondo, wicket-keeper/batsman Jason Oakes, left-arm orthodox Smangaliso Nhlebela and seamers Okuhle Cele and Jesse Smit.
“This is a great chance for some of our youngsters to show what they’ve got and to put in a few big performances at the next level,” says Telemachus.
“The guys have been working hard at the Academy all winter and so now it’s a chance for them to hopefully take the next step in their careers.”
The former South African quick acknowledges KZN face a tall task this weekend but believes his charges, led by the squad’s Hollywoodbets Dolphins players, can replicate their knock-out phase qualification efforts of 2015 or better.
“With guys like Keshav (Maharaj), Cameron (Delport) and Robbie (Frylinck) in the squad we’ve got some great,experienced heads that can guide the youngsters.
“Rabian (Engelbrecht) is fit and has looked fantastic in pre-season and Sibz (Makhanya) has also captained his country at U19 level, so they will be important too.
“We’re up against three quality sides this weekend but we’re just focusing on trying to put it all together on our side because we believe that if we can do that then we’re a very good team as well,” says Telemachus.
KZN square off against hosts Boland on Friday, Gauteng on Saturday and Eastern Province on Sunday.
Okuhle Cele, Cameron Delport, Rabian Engelbrecht, Robbie Frylinck, Bruce Kerr, Keshav Maharaj, Sibonelo Makhanya, Senuran Muthusamy, Smangaliso Nhlebela, Jason Oakes, Mishkal Ramsaroop, Jesse Smit, Zipohozokuthula (Dudu) Zondo