“The home-advantage will give the Nashua Cape Cobras a 60/40-advantage in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final on Friday,” said Morné van Wyk, captain of the Sunfoil Dolphins, about the clash against the Chevrolet Knights at the Newlands Cricket Stadium.
The intimate awareness and professional insight of how to bat at their beloved Newlands have served the Nashua Cape Cobras well, and the number-3 strip might require a similar knowledge when the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final is played on Friday against the Chevrolet Knights.
Evan Flint, the curator of the Newlands Cricket Ground, said a reason why the Cobras have done well on this ground is that visiting teams have erroneously tried to hit the ball hard from the start.
They have attempted to hit on the proverbial up or through the line, instead of watching the ball onto the bat.
“I expect the pitch to be flat, but I cannot eradicate all movement, and the bowlers, whether fast bowlers of spin, do get something out of this wicket,” said Flint.
He says a score of 145 will be about par on the wicket.
Interestingly enough, the Cobras have been in fine form on the number-3 strip this season.
They thrashed the Chevrolet Knights by 73 runs in October in a Momentum One-Day Cup clash.
Dane Vilas scored 77 and SA Engelbrecht struck 68 in a sensational batting display to guide the Cobras to 285 for five.
The Knights could only muster 213 runs in reply.
Mthokozisi Shezi took four for 38 and Rory Kleinveldt captured one for 29 in nine overs. The left-arm spinner Robin Peterson only managed one for 46, but bowled well at a crucial stage to remove the hard-hitting Gerhardt Abrahams.
The Cobras registered another bonus-point win on that wicket in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge against the Sunfoil Dolphins. The visitors only scored 127 for nine as Shezi (three for 23) and Engelbrecht (three for 16) were the destroyers-in-chief.
The hosts won by eight wickets.
“The Cobras know how to bat on this wicket, and they have underlined it this season,” said Flint.
The Nashua Cape Cobras Squad for Ram Slam T20 Final Vs Chevrolet Knights Friday 12th December 2014 Newlands Cricket Ground
Justin Ontong (Captain)
Richard Levi does not subscribe to the theory that the Nashua Cape Cobra’s middle-order might fire blanks in the final of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge on Friday due to a lack of game time.
The Cobras and the Chevrolet Knights will meet at the Newlands Cricket Stadium on Friday in the final of the domestic T20-showpiece.
Levi, leading run-scorer in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with 391 runs at an average of 143.22, said the top-order is supposed to score the most runs in the domestic showpiece.
But the middle-order of the Cobras have served them well, as Kieron Pollard and Dane Vilas have been on song and have played superbly when given opportunities.
Pollard is at the summit of the Cobras batting averages with 200 runs at an average of 66.66. Vilas has struck 153 runs in the competition, including 51 in a bonus-point win against the bizhub Highveld Lions.
Levi said he had a lean season in 2013/2014 following back injury. Upon his return, he was dropped after two consecutive ducks.
The time in the wilderness gave him opportunities to reflect.
As a senior professional in the English county series, he thrived in the role of taking responsibility at the top of the order.
Subsequently, in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, he was able to adapt to different conditions and still score half-centuries, even if the pitch was slow, as was the case at St. George’s Park when he scored 76 off 53 balls and featured in a 140-run partnership for the first wicket.
Two days later, Levi hit a sedate 64 off 61 balls on a big ground, Chevrolet Park, but his approach proved to be a master stroke as the Cobras finished as winners by eight runs against the Chevrolet Knights.
Levi was able to bat in second and fifth gear the past season, bludgeoning and caressing, blasting and manoeuvring, muscling and manipulating while playing a high-risk game only when the line of the bowling was too straight.
“Speaking to other professionals has been important while side-lined,” he said.
Levi smashed 117 off 52 balls in February 2012 in what was the fastest century in a T20-international at the time. Asked if he has become a meaner, leaner and better run-scoring machine, Levi’s answer was blunt: “No, but I have a better understanding of my own game now,” he added.
Part of that understanding is to bat well in tandem with other top-order players like Andrew Puttick, Omphile Ramela, and Hashim Amla.
Asked about the final on Friday and whether the Cobras are carrying emotional scars of that 2-run defeat in the final of the T20 Challenge in February, Levi said the Cobras have hardly spoken about that game in training, and are only focusing on the final.
“We have a second opportunity in two seasons to win it,” he added.
The Nashua Cape Cobras are desperate to atone for their 2-run loss in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final last season, said Justin Ontong, the skipper.
The Cobras and the Chevrolet Knights will meet at the Newlands Cricket Ground on Friday.
“We get a second chance to make things right. It was difficult not to reminisce about that final because we came so close (to beating the Sunfoil Dolphins in the finals at Newlands),” said Ontong.
A few senior players did not participate in the net practice on Tuesday.
The West Indian allrounder Kieron Pollard returned to Trinidad and Tobago for a few days and will train on Thursday.
He requested a few days leave as he will fly from Cape Town after the final the weekend to play in the Big Bash. He will only return to the West Indies in May 2015.
Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla attended a Cricket South Africa function, while some other players, including Dane Vilas and Omphile Ramela, were at a South African Cricket-players Association meeting.
Ontong said one of the greatest assets of the Cobras in the 2014/2015-season that contributed to them securing the home-final, was that they batted sensibly on slow tracks and ran expertly between the wickets.
Thanks to that approach, they ensured that they bat at a run of between seven and eight per over, despite the fact that boundaries were not always easy to come by.
He added that the bowling attack of both the Cobras and the Knights got them into the finals.
Both assessed conditions very well and used the change of pace to deny opposing teams momentum.
The two teams also provided the leading wicket-takers in George Linde and Shadley van Schalkwyk, who both nipped out 14 batsmen.
Andre Russell’s injection of passion and enthusiasm made a massive difference to the Knights, said Ontong.
“Rilee Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks are big players for the Knights. Upon their return from the Proteas in Australia, they gave the Knights some confidence.
“We have our plans ready for Rilee and Reeza.
“But we have to be very cautious, we have a Plan A and B for them,” Ontong added.
The captain said conditions determines the batting approach in any T20-game.
The Cobras tended to bat a bit slower at the start so that they could accelerate and attack vigorously at the end with wickets in hand.
“There is some concern that some members of the middle-order, including me, have not spent so much time at the wicket because the top-order batted so excellently. We will have to make sure about our preparations this week.”
The Cobras welcomed back Dane Piedt, the national off-spinner who captured eight for 152 in his test debut against Zimbabwe.
Piedt, recuperating well after shoulder surgery, bowled well in the nets and asked probing questions of the openers, Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick.
Piedt will represent United in a club game on Saturday.
The Nashua Cape Cobras must be favourites to win the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final against the Chevrolet Knights, and that is not only because it is a home-final for the Cobras at the Newlands Cricket Stadium, but also because of the presence of two top-class spinners, said Paul Harris, a former South African left-arm orthodox slow bowler.
“I think the Cobras will use both their left-arm spinners George Linde and Robin Peterson in the final,” said Harris, who played for South Africa, the Nashua Cape Cobras and The Unlimited Titans.
He was approached about the final on Friday at Newlands.
“Robin’s confidence is very high at the moment, and he has also bowled well against Australia recently.
“I like the look of young George Linde. He has got a big future ahead of him. He gives the ball a bit of a rip and he bowls with excellent control,” said Harris.
“I expect the Cobras to win. It’s not always easy for teams to come to Newlands and win, especially with a packed crowd at the ground,” he added.
“I was impressed with the way the Knights played this season. They don’t have any superstars apart from Andre Russell and Rilee Rossouw.
“But they operate well as a team and they do the basics superbly.
“I did not expect the Knights to beat the Lions, but the hosts did not get nearly enough runs. Shadley van Schalkwyk and Malusi Siboto operated shrewdly with their change of pace to deny the Lions.
“And if you score 148 for five, the chasing team will get to it 99 times out of 100,” said Harris.
Peterson took three for 21 in the previous game against the Knights in Bloemfontein. His economy-rate is 5.28, while Linde has grabbed 14 scalps in the domestic T20-competition and has been miserly too. His economy-rate is 6.70.
Paul Adams, current Cobras coach, was philosophical about the final. He said the Cobras do understand that both the hosts and the Knights possess match-winners that can take the game away from the opposition in a flash.
“It is about execution on the day.”
Adams has been a firm believer in accelerating from a solid base, but the coach was reticent in being too prescriptive about how the top-order would approach the game on Friday.
“It is about assessing conditions and then adapting to it accordingly,” he added.
The team-talk in the Nashua Cape Cobras prior to the final league game in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge against the Chevrolet Warriors was about being ruthless. The Cobras were true to their word, thanks to the “presence of the world’s best players who lifted the spirits of the rest of the squad by 50 %,” said Mthokozisi Shezi.
The rampant Cape Cobras powered to a 9-wicket win against the Warriors at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday.
The Cape franchise won eight out of ten league matches. They have retained the momentum ahead of the home-final on Friday 12th December at the Newlands Cricket Ground.
Richard Levi became the leading run-scorer in the domestic T20-showpiece on Wednesday by moving past Henry Davids.
The hard-hitting right-hander has struck 391 runs in the domestic T20-competition.
His strike-rate of 143.22 and his boundary count of 37 boundaries and 20 sixes make pleasant reading if you’re a Cape Cobras supporter.
“Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, the world’s best players, lifted the spirits of the rest of the squad,” said Shezi, opening bowler of the Cobras.
“The Warriors were sceptical at attacking against Dale. They blocked against him and tried to go after the rest of us,” he added.
“In the team-talk, it was all about being ruthless and on gathering momentum ahead of the home-final,” said Shezi.
He was full of praise for the efforts of the spinners throughout the campaign.
The skipper, Justin Ontong, was able to post fielders at short leg, at silly point and at slip because the spinners were so skillful.
“It is very unusual to see such close fielders in T20-cricket,” he added.
Shezi was not at his best in the T20-match against the Chevrolet Knights on Sunday, conceding one for 43. He bounced back against the Warriors on Wednesday.
The skillful seam bowler took one for 19 in three overs as an impressive part of the support cast to Steyn, who captured one for 19 in four overs.
Dane Paterson (one for 23 in four overs) also made his presence felt.
“You can take things for granted. I tried to focus more on my skills against the Warriors. Maybe I tried too many things at the end, so it could have been better,” said Shezi.
The 27-year old Shezi has taken eight wickets in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge at an economy-rate of 7.13 and at an average of 25.87.
A SUPREMELY clinical performance from the Nashua Cape Cobras saw them make it eight wins out of 10 games in the league phase of the RAM SLAM T20 as they beat the Chevrolet Warriors by nine wickets at Boland Park.
Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla both made notable contributions as they eased back into franchise cricket, with Steyn making one of the early breakthroughs that saw the Warriors slump to 29 for three after they had won the toss and elected to bat.
The visitors did recover from that position admirably - thanks in no small part to Cobras batsman Yaseen Vallie, who has been on loan to the Warriors.
Vallie struck 39 in a 95-run stand with Ryan Bailey, who did the big hitting in the partnership as he collected 62 from just 41 deliveries.
Despite that fightback, the Warriors were only able to post 131 for five as Steyn (1 for 19 in four overs), Mthokozisi Shezi (1 for 19 in three) and Dane Paterson (1 for 23 in four) all finished strongly.
Faced with such a modest target, the Cobras were able to go about their chase methodically, with Richard Levi’s 22 providing some early impetus and Amla and Dane Vilas soon reducing the required rate to less than a run a ball.
Amla batted through the innings to finish unbeaten on 56 from 51 deliveries, while Vilas was 43 not out from 38 balls when the Cobras crossed the line with 11 balls to spare.
Levi’s knock put him back on top of the run-scoring charts as he passed Henry Davids (385 runs) to finish the league stage with 391 runs to his name.
With the Knights and the Lions seeing their encounter washed out, the Cobras enjoyed a nine-point lead in the final standings, while the Warriors ended up in fifth place.
Dear Cricket FANgS
The dynamic and all-conquering Nashua Cape Cobras booked a home-final in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge competition on Sunday and will seek domestic T20-glory at Newlands Cricket Ground on Friday 12th December, 6pm.
While the Cape Cobras want to atone for their heart-breaking 2-run loss in the domestic T20-final last season, Cobras fans would want to ascertain that they book seats early before they see the dreaded Full House-sign go up.
Sales to the public will open on Thursday (4th December) at 09h00 at Newlands and fans must get their hands on the treasured tickets early as it is bound to be a sell-out.
Tickets will go on sale on Thursday at R80 for adults, R60 for adults on the grass embankments, R60 for pensioners and R40 for school children. Details of the Nashua Cape Cobras’ HOME RAM Slam T20 match are as follows:
Match: Nashua Cape Cobras vs Qualifying Team
Date: Friday, 12 December 2014
Venue: Newlands Cricket Ground
Start of play: 6pm - BE EARLY as gates open at 4:30pm
Ticket prices: Adults: R80 (seat) & R60 (grass); Children: R80 (seat) & R40 (grass)
[Pensioners R60 (seats)]
Tickets can be purchased through the following channels:
• Internet: cricket.ticketpros.co.za
• Newlands Cricket Ground ticket office (021-6572089 / 43)
• For a comprehensive list on Postnet outlets, please visit www.ticketpros.co.za
The exciting brand of cricket played by the Summer Champions, the Cobras, and their remarkable winning feats (losing only one of their first nine matches and winning seven, of which three were bonus-point victories) are bound to attract a vast crowd.
Energized by the exuberance of a group of youthful newcomers (including Dane Paterson, George Linde and Ferisco Adams) and powered by the explosive hitting of Richard Levi and Kieron Pollard, the Cobras have steamrolled their way to the final on Friday 12th December before the start of the final league-game.
Perhaps their exciting mix of pace and a spin duo, as well as belligerent and sometimes composed hitting up front by Levi, Puttick and (Omphile) Ramela, were at the heart of the Cobras’ Ram Slam T20 Challenge which have seen them qualify for the Champions League Twenty20 for a second consecutive season.
FANgS have great activities to look forward to like the Glam Cam activation. If a fan gets spotted wearing red by the Supersport cameras, they can win great prizes from Samsung!
As a first for the Ram Slam T20 Tournament AT TELEVISED GAMES ONLY, this year RAM is giving away one million Rand! The coveted million will be awarded to any attendee who catches a six with one hand! It’s that simple. Should there be more than one winner, the one million Rand prize will shared amongst them. This exciting competition will run from the 2nd of November, to the 13th of December. For all details on this incentive, go to www.cricket.co.za.
We wish our Summer Champions everything of the best in their pursuit of winning this coveted trophy!
Follow us on twitter: @CobrasCricket or @NewlandsCricket and use hashtag #SummerChamps or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cobrascricket
The WCC Marketing Team
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