The Africa T20 Cup kicks off the 2016-17 domestic season in Pietermaritzburg today.
16 teams will be competing, featuring 12 provincial unions including KZN-Inland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya.
WP and Namibia will play the opening match of the tournament with last year’s runners-up and hosts, KZN, take on North West.
‘I’m really looking forward to the weekend,’ said Grant Morgan. ‘We have some tough teams in our group, but it’s a great opportunity for the guys to open up this season.’
The recently-appointed Dolphins coach, Morgan, will take charge of his former team standing in for Shane Burger, who is in Australia with the South Africa A side.
With a R300 000 prize on the line, Morgan believes his side is prepared to be contenders for the tournament.
‘Obviously we lost in the final last season, but they did excellently to win the Provincial T20 competition, so that shows they have great potential to do well in such a competition,’ Morgan added. ‘We’ve had some good preparation as well, so this is a great opportunity for everyone to stake a claim in the team for the season ahead.’
The KZN-Inland team were unbeaten until the final last season and their squad this year includes experienced players such as Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Mthokozisi Shezi and the young budding talent Tsepang Dithole.
Their opponents will be North West in the second match-up, coached by Monty Jacobs. He said: ‘The squad’s more or less the same as 2015 with a couple of players missing because they are in Australia.
‘But we still have a good strong squad, who are more experienced now than last year. But T20 is all about the day, how you perform and how you execute your plans. We’ll be hoping our players can go out there, enjoy themselves, relax and express themselves.’
The North West squad, who were in the same pool as KZN-Inland last year, only managed one win and are looking to get a boost with the inclusion of several stars of the recent SA Emerging Series, most notably Bjorn Fortuin and Marques Ackerman. Nicky van den Bergh, a player who went on to make his franchise debut last year, also features.
There will be two matches played on each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 09h45 and 13h15.
For the full list of fixtures, visit here.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images