The One Day Cup gets under way on Friday, with the Lions looking to retain their title.
The tournament will run from 17 February – 31 March, with the last piece of silverware of the season up for grabs.
Lions will struggle to retain their title
With Alviro Petersen unavailable after the match-fixing scandal and Stephen Cook missing for the last half of the tournament on Proteas Test duties, the Lions stand to lose some of those vital runs which led them to the title last season. Petersen played 12 matches, scoring 726 runs @ 80.66, including five 100s and a 50, while Cook scored 504 @ 56.00, including two tons and two fifties.
Rassie van der Dussen, who’s put himself up for auction in this year’s IPL, had an excellent T20 campaign scoring 345 @ 31.36 and will look to mimic this form in the one-day tournament. It will be an exciting debut campaign for 18-year-old SA U19 all-rounder, Wiaan Mulder, who will try to make his mark in the competition in the absence of Dwaine Pretorius, who is in the Proteas setup for the last three ODIs at the very least.
Cobras hunt domestic redemption
Ashwell Prince’s appointment has turned the Cobras’ domestic campaign around. They will aim to regain their one-day cup dominance which saw them win the trophy in 2011-12 and win back-to-back shared titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14 (with the Lions and the Titans).
Wayne Parnell took 16 wickets at @ 23.00 in nine matches last season, but will miss out after his Proteas call-up. Dane Paterson will miss the first three games due to his involvement with the Proteas, but will play a vital role in their title aspirations on his return. Captain Justin Ontong scored 439 @ 54.87 and will look to make a similar impact. Jason Smith will be a player to watch in his first full one-day cup campaign for his franchise.
Titans favourites to claim domestic double after T20 success
Their last one-day cup title was in 2014-15, and on paper they seem to be favourites for this season. Ex-Knights player, Malusi Siboto, ended last season as leading wicket-taker with 19 scalps and will aim for more for the Titans. Heino Kuhn is key after his form last season which saw him score 241 runs @ 60.25, including one century and two 50s in five matches.
Morne Morkel, returning from injury, will be a big boost as he looks to regain form to help him return to the Proteas side. Rising star, Lungi Ngidi, who is on the brink of becoming a full-time Proteas player, will aim to impress. Aiden Markram will also be one to watch in his first full season.
Knights hunt domestic double after Sunfoil Series title
After winning their first Sunfoil title in nine years, the Knights will look to win a trophy they haven’t lifted since 2010-11. The in-form David Miller will miss the first half of the season, but he will return after the ODI series to give a boost to his franchise. Leading Sunfoil Series wicket-taker Duanne Olivier will look to give his team his all in the first half of the campaign before the possibility of joining the Proteas Test side.
Captain Theunis de Bruyn, pending Test involvement, will play a huge role in his side’s success. Rudi Second was their star last season with 498 runs @ 71.14, including three tons and one half-century, and he will look to replicate that form. Marchant de Lange’s pace will be key as he aims to match his T20 form which saw him take nine scalps in seven matches @ 23.11. Rilee Rossouw could be available after signing a Kolpak deal with Hampshire.
Warriors look for first one-day title since 2009-10
The Warriors will be anticipating the availability of Kyle Abbott after he signed a Kolpak deal with Hampshire. He will be a big boost for partner Andrew Birch, who will look to make a similar impact as last season, which saw him take 17 wickets @ 20.11 in nine matches. JJ Smuts is vital to his side’s chances. He racked up 373 @ 33.90, including one 100 and one 50. Colin Ingram will also be an important player for the side after scoring one century and five half-tons to end with 480 @ 68.57 last season.
Dolphins seek first franchise-era title
Khaya Zondo will take on the captaincy to help change the Dolphins’ One Day Cup fortunes in this tournament. He only played four matches last season, but still managed one century and a half-ton. His contribution in the Sunfoil Series, which saw him finish fourth with 740 runs and the highest average (67.27), hitting two centuries and five 50s, has put him on the radar for a potential national call-up.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s form is key to the Dolphins as he tries to improve on last season. He scored 306 runs (four fifties) at an average of 34.00 in nine matches as the Dolphins ended second from bottom. Keshav Maharaj will try to prove his worth in the one-day format before meeting up with the Proteas in NZ for the Test series. Andile Phehlukwayo will join his franchise after the ODIs, as the 20-year-old continues his development.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images