The Sunfoil Dolphins will look to take momentum from their recent RAM SLAM T20 Challenge runners-up efforts as well as the good form shown by the KwaZulu-Natal and KZN Inland provincial teams into the 2015/16 Sunfoil Series which gets underway on Thursday, 17 December as they prepare to compete for the competition’s increased R2million winner’s cheque.
Through the generous support of competition title sponsors Sunfoil and the Willowton Group, the prize money pool has been increased to R3.3million in total with the competition winners’ reward double that of 2014/15’s season.
“With first-class four-day cricket being the premier domestic competition, we are pleased to announce another increase in prize money for our Sunfoil Series,” said CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“We’ve seen over the years how the Sunfoil Series has provided the perfect foundation for up and coming players to develop and showcase their talent before moving into the Test arena.
“I must once again thank the Willowton Group for being such a superb partner in supporting cricket from grassroots to professional level,” added Lorgat.
Starting with their a trip to Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg for their opening clash against the powerful bizhub Highveld Lions from 17-20 December, the Dolphins have a busy festive period and will hope to bank some good early momentum in the four-day competition.
The franchise’s side’s recent T20 performance has been complimented well by strong showing from the province’s two provincial outfits as well, boding well for the upcoming first class tournament.
“The KZN Coastal team is doing fantastically well and the Inland team is top of the log in their pool in the Amateur league so there is some good confidence that guys bring with them from there into the Sunfoil Series,” said Sunfoil Dolphins stand-in captain Divan van Wyk, who replaces his brother Morné at the helm.
With the departure of international stars Kevin Pietersen and Dwayne Bravo – who both played important roles for the Dolphins during the RAM SLAM T20 – and the return of longer format specialists such as Van Wyk himself, Imraan Khan and Daniel Sincuba, a somewhat new-look Dolphins side heads to Johannesburg for the side’s tournament opener.
“A big congratulations to both Khaya Zondo and Keshav Maharaj on their selection for the SA ‘A’ team and Andile Phehlukwayo for his inclusion in the SA Invitational team!” said Van Wyk.
“For us though that does however sadly mean that all three aren’t available for us for this first game but that does create an exciting opportunity for some of the other guys to start a campaign.
“Some of the guys have had to wait a bit to be a part of things and so I think there is definitely a hunger from those guys to be a part of the team and to contribute as well.”
Others who have been included in the 12-man outfit for the journey to the City of Gold who haven’t yet played a role in the Sunfoil Dolphins this season include seamers Daryn Dupavillon, Mat Pillans, wicket-keeper/batsman Daryn Smit, all-rounder Calvin Savage and off-spinner Thandi Tshabalala.
There is also room for Sibonelo Makhanya – fresh off his astounding recent effort of 192 runs off just 199 balls for KZN in the Sunfoil Cup – in the squad, Proteas middle order batsman David Miller returns to the whites after nearly a year’s absence while Cody Chetty has also earned himself a recall.
Ayavuya Myoli – who impressed in his debut for the KZN provincial side at the start of the season and then played all but the final of the Dolphins’ RAM SLAM T20 Challenge campaign – has received a maiden Sunfoil Series call-up.
Sunfoil Dolphins Squad: Divan Van Wyk (Captain), Imraan Khan, Daniel Sincuba, Cody Chetty, David Miller, Daryn Smit, Sibonelo Makhanya, Calvin Savage, Matthew Pillans, Daryn Dupavillon, Ayavuya Myoli, Thandi Tshabalala, Brett Edwards (Physiotherapist), Lance Klusener (Head Coach), Rivash Gobind (Assistant Coach).