The weekend’s two matches involving the Cape Cobras, champions of 2014/2015, are set to thrill Ram Slam fans.
The Cobras will challenge the Highveld Lions, winners of 2015/2016, on Friday and the title-holders of 2016/2017, the Titans, on Sunday.
Both Ashwell Prince and Faiek Davids, the coach and the assistant coach, spoke candidly about the importance of the Cobras not being reactive or half-hearted in their T20 approach.
That requires an aggressive, fearless and bold approach.
JP Duminy, the captain, emphasized that the team should be thinking on their feet and be adaptable, while absorbing pressure collectively.
The greatest challenge for the Cape Cobras in their 15-run loss against the Dolphins (according to the D/L method) was a failure to peg away at the opposition by constantly striking.
The flat deck was certainly a factor. The Cobras created three clear chances and would be aggrieved that they were not a touch more clinical in the field.
The return to the squad of Wayne Parnell would certainly be a boost. It would be difficult for coach and skipper to decide on who to prefer at number seven – Parnell or Vernon Philander.
Philander has been credited as one of the finest exponents of which length to bowl on a flat deck.
His ability, aligned with Parnell’s swing and Dane Paterson’s strike-power, can set up a win against the Lions, who looked out of sorts with the bat in their opening clash against the Multiply Titans.
The Titans were not only superb as a batting unit in their first two games. The bowlers, notably Lungi Ngidi and Malusi Siboto, used variety and slower cutters as a Plan B to derail the valiant chase of the Knights on Wednesday.
Very few domestic attacks possess the statistical and real experience of the Cobras as Parnell (167 T20 matches), Philander (96 T20 games), Paterson (52) and JP Duminy (216) know what it takes to hold their nerve under pressure.
Prince stressed the importance of bowlers executing their game-plans and backing their own instincts, a factor that will determine if the Cobras can overcome a Titans team full of international stars on Sunday.
The Cape Cobras squad for Friday and Sunday is: JP Duminy (capt), Qaasim Adams (w/k), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Jason Smith.