After the frustration of an abandoned fixture last week, the Titans will aim for a Jukskei derby victory in Benoni to enhance their place at the top of the Sunfoil Series standings.
Their top of the table clash against the Knights was abandoned due to rain, which handed both sides five points. The Titans still sit in first with 64.74 and will face the Lions who suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the Cobras. Given the Titans’ strong line-up, they look favourites to claim their third win. New Proteas T20 captain Farhaan Behardien is back in the Titans squad and available for selection. Heino Kuhn and Lungi Ngidi will be fired up after their call-up to the Proteas T20 side, who will be facing Sri Lanka in a three-match series starting 20 January.
The Lions will be missing their young star, Wiaan Mulder, due to international duties with SA U19, where he will captain the side in a triangular series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and three-match series against Sri Lanka. The 18-year-old has had an epic debut season and in his last match, the defeat to the Cobras, took a total of five wickets. Geoffery Toyana’s side will have to rely on Kolpak recruit Hardus Viljoen and Dwaine Pretorius to lead the bowling attack, with Nono Pongolo brought in to replace Mulder. The Lions (54.14 points) desperately need a win to lift them from fifth position with the Cobras (44.32 points) snapping at their hills with momentum behind them.
Cobras vs Warriors (East London)
The Cobras featured in the only win of last week’s fixtures. They will look to continue their positive start to the new year as they search for their second win, but they will have to overcome a difficult opponent in the Warriors. The Cape-based side will be without their star performers Wayne Parnell, who will start for the Proteas in the third Test against Sri Lanka, and Omphile Ramela, who will miss out due to family duties. Rory Kleinveldt and Simon Khomari will be brought in as they look to string together some victories to lift themselves from rock bottom.
Interestingly, Kyle Abbott will not play for the Warriors, after signing a Kolpak agreement with Hampshire. The Warriors (58.42 points) have added Aya Gqamane to the squad following his outstanding showing for Border in the Sunfoil Cup last weekend, where he took six wickets and scored 46 runs.
Knights vs Dolphins (Kimberley)
After their drawn match against the Warriors, the Dolphins (63.8) edged above the Knights (60.2). This makes the clash a little more appealing as they battle for second position. The Knights wait on news over the availability their captain Theunis de Bruyn and their No 1 bowler, Duanne Olivier, who are both looking for their debut Test cap with the Proteas. The latest Kolpak contender, Marchant de Lange, will have to step up in their absence as they seek much-needed points after their abandoned game against the log leaders. David Miller will also look to make an impact after coming back into the side for the abandoned match.
Andile Phehlukwayo, one of the Proteas’ T20I new recruits, will play an important role as the Dolphins try and hold off the Knights who are hot on their heels. Khaya Zonda will be key to the Dolphins’ chances as he sits second on the scorer’s list after passing the 500 mark for the season. Dolphins coach Grant Morgan predicted that Olivier will play, despite his inclusion in the Proteas Test squad.