Four sides including hardened domestic cricketers and internationally experienced players encounter in the knockout stages of the CSA Provincial T20 Knock Out Competition in Kimberley this week, presenting an intriguing battle of wits.
The ITEC Knights will face the Six Gun Grill Western Province in the second quarterfinal of the last eight doubleheader on Tuesday, October 19th at 14h30 at The Oval, Kimberley. The GbetsRocks will play the North West Dragons in a Paarl v Potchefstroom match on Wednesday at 14h30 to determine who will play in the TKO semifinals.
The victor of both games will face off in the second semifinal on Thursday, with the winner advancing to the showpiece final on Friday. The victors of the other side of the draw between the Six Gun Grill South Western Districts, Momentum Multiply Titans, Hollywoodbets Dolphins, and Gbets Warriors will play in that game.
In Pool B, the Knights, coached by South African cricket icon Alan Donald, were in fine form, winning two games and having one game called off against Mpumalanga to finish first ahead of the Titans. Farhaan Behardien and Rilee Rossouw, two experienced and entertaining batsmen, shined with the bat for the Free State side, with the latter smashing two half-centuries and scoring 140 runs in his two innings.
“We’re clearly pleased with our first-round results. The players played really good cricket, two wins and a rainout,” remarked Knights skipper Pite van Biljon of his team’s performance in the first round.
“We started slowly with our build-up against Namibia in the pre-season, but we got it perfect in the last few of games against them, and that carried over into this competition, so hopefully we can maintain our form and confidence into the knockout rounds,” the captain added.
Western Province, on the other hand, enters the quarterfinals with a spring in their step after overcoming a must-win game in Pool A to qualify. It’s an exciting time at the union under the domestic cricket reorganization, with players like Zubayr Hamza, who raised his bat for the tournament’s maiden century, and left-armer Wayne Parnell involved.
“We take pride in going through to the playoffs,” Province captain Parnell stated ahead of his team’s quarterfinal. We had to win inside a particular time limit and overs in our last game against Northern Cape Heat, and we did that, which was really satisfying.
“It’s a fresh start now; every game is a one-off game, and it’s all about staying in the moment.” It’s critical to establish a baseline in order to win any competition in which we compete.
“This one in particular, since it is the (re-)start of the Western Province Union, will mean a lot to the players and everyone back home in Cape Town if we can go over the line,” Parnell continued.
Meanwhile, the Rocks were one of just two teams (the Dolphins) to go undefeated in pool play, sweeping over everyone in their path, including the Warriors, Eastern Cape Iinyathi, and Limpopo Impalas. The side’s bowlers, especially Ziyaad Abrahams’ six wickets, contributed immensely, according to captain Pieter Malan, despite Clyde Fortuin’s remarkable century against his former Warriors squad grabbing the headlines.
“We were pleased with our first-round results, particularly from the bowlers, who put their hands up and pulled the team through,” he said.
“As a batting unit, there’s still a little bit we want to improve on, but as a unit, we were quite happy, especially considering it was our first time playing together as a bunch,” Malan said.
“In terms of batting conditions, the boundaries here (Kimberley) are obviously shorter than they would have been in Bloem, and the ball does move at altitude, which we are conscious of.”
“However, with the bowling attack we have, we are fairly sure that we will be able to keep teams to reasonable totals,” he continued.
When the Rocks take on the Dragons, they won’t have it all their own way. They’ll be up against an experienced wicketkeeper batter in Nicky van den Bergh, a group of promising teenagers, and an all-action Senuran Muthusamy who has been putting in regular performances.
In Pool C, the North West side defeated the Eastern Storm to earn a spot in the knockout stage and, as a Division One team under the new system, a point to prove.
“Success in this competition will be huge for us,” Van den Bergh said, “particularly as one of the non-franchise teams from the previous system that made it up to the first division.”
“For a lot of the players, especially the teenagers who are in their first year of full-time professional cricket, it’s still a learning curve, so to have a taste of victory in this competition initially is fantastic.”
“I am really excited to see what this team has to offer,” the returning captain said. “The way the guys have rallied around with senior players still being injured, showing real character and showing there is depth, not just in the North West but in South Africa, and I am really excited to see what this team has to offer.”
The competition’s seven knockout matches will be televised live on SuperSport, with commentary in English, Afrikaans, and IsiXhosa. The action will also be televised on numerous international networks, including Free Sports in the United Kingdom and Fox Sports in Australia, as well as live-streamed on FanCode (Indian sub-continent).
Live updates will also be accessible on the CSA App, which is available on the App Store and Google Play for IOS and Android devices.
ITEC Knights: Farhaan Behardien, Patrick Botha, Mbulelo Budaza, Gerald Coetzee, Matthew Kleinveldt, Patrick Kruger, Gregory Mahlokwana, Wandile Makwetu, Mangaliso Mosehle, Alfred Mothoa, Migael Pretorius, Rilee Rossouw, Jacques Snyman, Nealan van Heerden, Raynard van Tonder
Wayne Parnell (Captain), Aviwe Mgijima, Basheer Walters, Beuran Hendricks, Daniel Smith, Jonathan Bird, David Bedingham, Yves Kamanzi, Kyle Simmonds, Kyle Verreynne, Mihlali Mpongwana, Nandre Burger, Tony de Zorzi, Tshepo Moreki, Zubayr Hamza, Yves Kamanzi, Kyle Simmonds, Kyle Verrey
GbetsRocks: Pieter Malan (Captain), Ferisco Adams, Janneman Malan, Stiaan van Zyl, Christiaan Jonker, Clyde Fortuin, Sinalo Gobeni, Hlomla Hanabe, Imraan Manack, Hardus Viljoen, Siyabonga Mahima, Zakhele Qwabe, Ziyaad Abrahams, Khanya Dilima Shaun von Berg is a writer and director.
North West Dragons: Nicky van den Bergh (Captain), Senuran Muthusamy, Wesley Marshall, Eben Botha, Shaylen Pillay, Lesego Senokwane, Jason Oakes, Duan Jansen, Eldred Hawken, Chad Claasen, Lwandisa Zuma, Chris Britz, Tahir Isaacs, Johannes Diseko, Caleb Seleka, Heinrigh Pieterse