The CSA T20 Challenge got underway on Saturday 12 November and these are the six players worth keeping an eye on during the tournament.
Dane Paterson – BuildNat Cape Cobras
The 2016-2017 has been one to forget for the Cobras. Off-field issues have translated to on-field issues with the Western Capers finding themselves rooted to the bottom of the Sunfoil Series table without a single victory. However, they have the ability to turn their fortunes around in the shortest format of the game and opening bowler Dane Paterson is one of the key men in the Cobras arsenal. The quick took 12 wickets at a tick under 21 with an economy rate of 7.56 in last year’s Ram Slam T20 and took 13 in the 2014-2015 campaign which the Cobras won. In what is traditionally a batsmen’s game, Paterson has the ability to stand out above the rest and resurrect the troubled Cobras.
Andile Phehlukwayo – Hollywoodbets Dolphins
The 20-year-old first played T20 cricket for the Dolphins in the 2014 Champions League whilst still a schoolboy at Durban’s Glenwood High. Fast forward to 2016 and Phehlukwayo could well consider himself an institution in the Proteas One-Day setup after taking wickets in the 5-0 whitewash over the Australians. A bowling allrounder – Phehlukwayo has some lethal changes of pace in his armoury to compliment his fence clearing ability with the willow. Alongside Robbie Frylinck, his allround skills will be crucial to the Dolphins regaining the title they last won in 2013-2014.
David Miller – VKB Knights
The man known as Moose is a world renowned threat in white ball cricket and needs little introduction to local fans. Miller has made the move this season from the Dolphins to the Knights and has already found success at his new home scoring a ton and two fifties in four Sunfoil Series innings. Coming off some sensational form for the Proteas (193 runs at 96.50 average) and SA ‘A’ (332 runs at 110.66 average) against the Aussies, Knights fans will be looking to the big hitting Miller to bring them some silverware after a disappointing last placed finish in 2015-2016 in the T20s.
Reeza Hendricks – bizhub Highveld Lions
The former Knights frontman has made the move to the Lions this season where he has yet to taste great success atop the order in the four-day game. However, Hendricks did finish third on the Ram Slam run scorers list last season behind Quinton de Kock and Kevin Pietersen with 347 runs. With five Protea T20 caps to his name already, the Lions will be looking to Hendricks to be the spark that ignites the order in the hope of bettering their disappointing fifth place finish last season.
Malusi Siboto – Multiply Titans
Another on the list who has shifted allegiances, Siboto’s move from the Knights to the Titans has already proved a good one for his new team. Siboto has 20 wickets from four Sunfoil Series matches this season and showed great white ball prowess last season topping the Momentum One Day Cup wicket charts after having placed sixth in the Ram Slam. His 14 wickets in last year’s T20s came at an impressive economy rate of just 6.47 runs per over. His wicket taking ability, coupled with his miserly economy rate make him a potent weapon for the defending champions.
Jon-Jon Smuts – Warriors
The Warriors skipper was nothing short of inspirational in the Africa T20 Cup earlier this season, leading his native Eastern Province to the title with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the Final. He scored the second most runs (196 at an average of 49) and took four handy wickets with his left-arm spin. Along with the in-form Colin Ackerman, Smuts will shoulder much of the batting responsibility up front for the Warriors, whilst he will be a vital aid to Simon Harmer in the spin bowling department.