The Cobras open their campaign on Friday afternoon with a tough game against the Northern Knights.
The New Zealand franchise were the surprise package of the qualifiers, coming through unbeaten. They will be firing on all cylinders with three matches already under their belt, and will hope to catch the Cobras cold.
Here is a detailed look at what we can expect from the South African side during the tournament:
Brief Overview: Losing semi-finalists in 2009 and the recipients of an early group exit in 2011, this will be the Cobras’ third CLT20. Decidedly more balanced across all three formats of the game under new coach Paul Adams, who succeeded the stoic Richard Pybus two years ago, 2014 brings South Africa’s Cape Town-based franchise best chance of world renown.
Key Strength: A squad laden with international experience, including several talents buoyed and primed for further success by recent limited-overs success over Australia and Zimbabwe in Harare, has the bulk of the Cobras in match form. Plenty of the other tournament contenders, however, might be ring rusty.
Probable Weakness: Fitness worries for seamers Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt might leave the bowling attack under-resourced, while the inexperience of due Zakhele Qwabe and Omphile Ramela will require consistent tempering.
Batsman To Watch: Less of a ‘six or nothing’ cricketer these days, the hard-hitting Richard Levi has matured. But the process has not seen him lose a characteristically attacking flair.
Bowler To Watch: Surplus to the requirements of the Proteas, but a welcome Surrey recruit in English county cricket recently, spinner Robin Peterson has developed a new dynamic – including the unveiling of a much-anticipated carrom ball.
Squad: Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Justin Kemp, Rory Kleinveldt, Charl Langeveldt, Richard Levi, Aviwe Mgijima, Justin Ontong (captain), Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Zakhele Qwabe, Omphile Ramela, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas.
Toughest Fixture: A grueling contest against the Kings XI Punjab, who impressed at every turn during the 2014 Indian Premier League, in front of a partisan crowd is sure to test every inch of the Cobras’ collective mettle at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on 28 September.
They Said: ‘I am quite confident about the Champions League Twenty20. I had a longer time to prepare than the most guys. I feel very good about my batting and bowling. If given the opportunity, I can do the job that the captain wants.’ – seamer Aviwe Mgijima.
Photo: Gavin Barker/Backpagepix