KZN In­land ready for T20 Cup as­sign­ment

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

THE 2017 Africa T20 Cup heads into its fi­nal round robin fix­tures this week­end and for KZN cricket it is the turn of Hol­ly­wood­bets KZN In­land to do bat­tle in East Lon­don for a spot in the semi-fi­nals.

In­land have been placed in the same group with hosts Bor­der as well as Boland and Zim­babwe. All three sides will pose a dif­fer­ent threat to the men in royal blue when they get their cam­paign un­der­way against northerly neigh­bours Zim­babwe to­day.

The men from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg have been on the brink of Africa T20 Cup suc­cess in the past when they were beaten in the fi­nal of the in­au­gu­ral event in 2015 by North­erns.

The squad will be look­ing to repli­cate that form as they eye an­other semi-fi­nal berth with Namibia, Gaut­eng and Free State hav­ing al­ready qual­i­fied.

“Be­ing in that first ever Africa Cup fi­nal was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence and the few play­ers that were in­volved can draw on that,” coach Shane Burger men­tioned.

“We go­ing into this year’s com­pe­ti­tion with a new look squad with some dif­fer­ent faces but I am con­fi­dent that we have done all we can in prepa­ra­tion for this week­ends’ ac­tion.

“Although we have done ev­ery­thing we can do to pre­pare you can’t sim­u­late TV cam­eras and the pres­sure that comes with a match sce­nario.”

An ad­van­tage for the side from the prov­ince’s cap­i­tal is that Burger was re­cently in­volved in a South Africa Na­tional Academy tour to Zim­babwe.

Hav­ing this sort of in­sight into a side that could prove to be dif­fi­cult to beat will be in­valu­able and Burger be­lieves that the side from Zim­babwe are in their com­fort zone play­ing T20 cricket.

“There are a num­ber of dan­ger­ous play­ers in the Zim team and I think that T20 cricket is prob­a­bly their strong­est for­mat.

“We can cover our bases and do all the anal­y­sis we want but in T20 cricket it comes down to how you per­form in that highly pres­surised 40 overs.

In what was a ham­mer blow for the Hol­ly­wood­bets KZN In­land team, right-arm speed­ster Lwan­diswa Zuma had to with­draw from the squad due to a se­ri­ous knee in­jury rul­ing him out for a num­ber of weeks and will be re­placed in the squad by Kurt­lyn Man­nikam.

“It was tough on Zuma af­ter he had just come back to KZN and was want­ing to show South Africa that he made the right de­ci­sion to re­turn home.

“He (Zuma) was on the Na­tional Academy tour to Zim­babwe so he would have played against some of their play­ers and we were hop­ing to use that knowl­edge.

“Although in­juries are never good, it gives Kurt­lyn a chance to im­press,” Burger added.

The In­land team will be led by Lefa Mosena through­out the tour­na­ment and Burger has all the con­fi­dence in his cap­tain and se­nior play­ers.

“Lefa has grabbed the cap­taincy with both hands and he is de­serv­ing of the op­por­tu­nity to lead the team.

“He has the lux­ury of hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced guys like SJ (Er­wee) and Nips (Kyle Nipper) with him should he need them,” Burger com­mented.

With a gloomy fore­cast on the cards for Buf­falo Park through­out the week­end the re­sult from the open­ing fix­ture could prove to be vi­tal for In­land should their week­end fix­tures be in­ter­rupted by the el­e­ments as pre­dicted. — Su­pers­

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