Cricket

Africa Cup T20 set for Maritzburg start

2016-09-01 19:57
Cricket bat and ball (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The second edition of the Africa T20 Cup begins at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg from Friday, signalling the start of the 2016/17 South African cricket season.

The 16-team competition, which features all 12 provincial unions as well as KZN Inland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya, kicks off with the first set of fixtures to be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the KwaZulu-Natal capital.

KZN Inland, Western Province, North West and the Namibians make up Pool A.

The host team, who were runners-up last year after losing to Northerns in the final, play North West in the second match on day one, with the competition opening with a match-up between WP and Namibia.

“I'm really looking forward to the weekend,” said stand-in KZN Inland coach Grant Morgan. “We have some tough teams in our group, but it’s a great opportunity for the guys to open up this season.”

The recently-appointed Dolphins franchise coach has returned to take charge of his former team in the absence of Shane Burger, who is in Australia with the South Africa A team.

He feels that they are in good shape for the tournament, which has a winning prize of R300 000.

“Obviously we lost in the final last season, but they did excellently to win the Provincial T20 competition, so that shows they have great potential to do well in such a competition,” Morgan added. “We’ve had some good preparation as well, so this is a great opportunity for everyone to stake a claim in the team for the season ahead.”

The KZN Inland team won every game bar the final last season and their squad this year includes the likes of Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Mthokozisi Shezi and Tsepang Dithole.

Their opponents for the opening game are North West, coached by Monty Jacobs. He said: “The squad’s more or less the same as 2015 with a couple of players missing because they are in Australia.

“But we still have a good strong squad, who are more experienced now than last year. But T20 is all about the day, how you perform and how you execute your plans. We’ll be hoping our players can go out there, enjoy themselves, relax and express themselves.”

The North West squad, who were in the same pool as KZN Inland last year and managed just one win, boasts several stars of the recent Cricket South Africa (CSA) Emerging Series, such as Bjorn Fortuin and Marques Ackerman. Nicky van den Bergh, a player who went on to make his franchise mark last year, also features.

There will be two matches each played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the start times set at 09h45 and 13h15

Read more on:    africa t20 cup  |  cricket
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