Cape Town - The T20
Challenge will take centre stage for the next five weeks of the 2017/18 season
with the competition kicking off on Friday when the Warriors welcome the Knights to St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.
competition, which will be played non-stop until the December 16 final, is
significantly bolstered this year following the availability of all the Proteas, making for a hotly-contested affair.
the hosts do not have any current Proteas in their ranks, coach Malibongwe
Maketa does not expect it to affect them.
"It will be
different with all the Proteas playing and really add some extra spice to the
tournament," he said. "For us obviously there aren't any Proteas, but we don't
see it as a disadvantage at all.
see it as a great opportunity for our guys to showcase their skill to become
Proteas. Because I believe we have enough quality in our squad to go to the
next level. If we have a good competition, we'll definitely have guys knocking
on that door."
they had a few men knocking at the door, but one man banged it down - captain
Jon-Jon Smuts, who went on to win six T20 international caps for South Africa.
men were one of the stand-out limited-over teams last year, but ended up losing
the 20-over and 50-over finals, both times to the Titans.
Warriors coach is hoping to go one better this year.
looking forward to white ball cricket," he adds. "I mean last season was so
close yet so far. To make two finals and come up with nothing was very
disappointing. We're in it to win it and that goes for every competition.
season we want to make sure we start from scratch. We are really proud of what
we did last season and we'll look to play the same way, throw the first punch
and be aggressive."
coach Nicky Boje is also looking forward to it. His side struggled in the
competition last year, ending as the wooden spoonist.
"It's a little
more relaxed and a little more fun, so we can't wait to get going," he said. "It's always nicer to play in front of more fans and in a livelier atmosphere,
so that will be good as well.
Proteas in the mix and I think we can expect a really strong competition this
are unbeaten this year and go into the competition having drawn all five of
their Sunfoil Series game.
Play gets underway on Friday at 18:00.
Colin Ackermann, Andrew Birch,
Gihahn Cloete, Ayabulela Gqamane, Simon Harmer, Colin Ingram, Christiaan
Jonker, Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje, Jerry Nqolo, Solomzi Nqweni, Jon-Jon
Smuts (capt), Kelly Smuts, Basheer Walters.
Marchant de Lange, Andries Gous, Eddie Leie, Patrick Kruger, Ryan McLaren,
Theunis de Bruyn (capt), David Miller, Grant Mokoena, Tshepo Ntuli, Duanne
Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Aubrey Swanepoel, Shadley van Schalkwyk.