SACricketmag.com previews the 4-Day Franchise Series. In this preview, we look at the Cobras’ season ahead.
Semi-finalists in the Momentum Cup and T20 Challenge, and third in the 4-Day Franchise Series, the Cobras were not far off from having a dominant season in 2017-18. Full of youngsters who have found their feet, Ashwell Prince says he aims to ‘restore the Cobras to what they were a few years ago.’
With just one win, one loss and eight draws last season, the Cobras finished third on the Sunfoil Series log. Their only victory came against the Dolphins in an eight-wicket win that was highlighted by a second first-class ton from Aviwe Mgijima and an 88 from Kyle Verreynne. It was a season where Zubayr Hamza, Verreynne and Pieter Malan stood out, winning top awards at the franchise’s annual awards evening. Malan top-scored with 892 runs in 10 matches, while Hamza came in close second with 828 in 10. Both players occupied fourth and fifth position, respectively, on the season top-scorers list.
Having lost Temba Bavuma to the Lions, Teshepo Moreki to the Titans, Andrew Puttick to retirement, Richard Levi. whose contract ended, and Wayne Parnell, whose contract was cancelled, the Cobras need their younger players to play with more urgency and maturity. Malan will be looked at as a senior in the side and crucially must lead from the front.
One to watch
The talented Janneman Malan. The 22-year-old joins his brother Pieter at the Cape Town-based franchise coming off a stellar season for North West. He was the top run-scorer in the CSA 3-Day Cup with 1,046 runs, making him the only batsman to cross the 1,000-run mark in first-class cricket last season.
If the Cobras players manage to improve on last season, then they should challenge for all three trophies this season. Their young and hungry squad will fuel their run in all three competitions, especially in the 4-Day Franchise Series. Their biggest competitors will be the high-flying Titans.
Hashim Amla (Proteas)
JP Duminy (Proteas)
Vernon Philander (Proteas)
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images