Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy returns to competitive cricket after close to five months on the sidelines, and will captain the Cape Cobras against the Titans in their One-Day Cup clash at Newlands on Friday.
The Proteas star has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, but after a slight delay with his return he is finally fit to feature again. Duminy’s return is a major boost for the Cobras as well as the Proteas, as the 34-year-old is still an integral part of South Africa’s World Cup 2019 plans.
The Cobras have won two and lost two of their opening four games of the campaign, but their form and performance have been strong in each of their matches.
Spinner George Linde says that playing the Titans was always one of the highlights of the Cape side’s calendar, adding that they were hoping to build on beating the Highveld Lions in their previous match last Sunday.
‘It’s one of the matches every season that we relish,’ said Linde. ‘We enjoy playing against the Titans. If we win this game, we will have momentum on our side.’
Linde has been a central figure for the Cobras in the first four games, either with his wickets or his new batting role further up the order.
‘My consistency has improved, and I can now frustrate batsmen who cannot pierce the field and then I force them into fatal errors,’ he added.
Apart from Duminy, Hashim Amla is also available for the Cobras after he was rested by the national team for the first part of the one-day series against Sri Lanka. The Titans, too, have a significant reinforcement after Aiden Markram joined them from the Proteas.
Captain Heinrich Klaasen admits that losing to the Lions in midweek was not ideal, but feels they are in a good space to continue building in the Mother City.
‘We put in a lot of hard work over the last two weeks, but unfortunately, the 310 we made was not enough,’ he stated. ‘They paced their innings perfectly … we helped them by not bowling particularly well. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
‘We need to go back to the drawing board now to see how we can improve. The turnaround between games this week is very short after nearly 14 days without a game. Now there’s three back-to-back matches, which we can’t help. It’s all part of the scheduling. That is why we’ve been training hard over the last two weeks,’ added Klaasen.
The Titans, who have one win in three so far, will lose Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi for the game, but Klaasen is confident about the back-up that has joined.
‘We lose Lungi and Shamsi now, with a few new faces coming in. We look forward to the new energy,’ said Klaasen.
Hashim Amla, David Bedingham, Tladi Bokako, Rory Kleinveldt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, JP Duminy (capt), Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Kyle Verreynne.
Farhaan Behardien, Gregory Mahlokwana, Imraan Manack, Junior Dala, Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen (capt), Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Aiden Markram, Tshepo Moreki, Chris Morris, Jonathan Vandiar.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix