New Delhi: A team with the confidence and the strength to go the full distance in the Champions League T20, South African team Cape Cobras have a squad full of quality players who have ample international as well as IPL experience.
The Cobras, who won the 2011 Standard Bank Pro20 series, boasts of the likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Justin Kemp and Charl Langeveldt in their lineup, all of whom have had successful stints with one or more IPL teams and have played enough cricket in India in the last decade to be not just familiar but even be able to exploit the conditions.
The Cobras played in the very first edition of the CLT20 in 2009 and made it to the last four stage, where they were knocked out by Trinidad and Tobago. They failed to qualify for the second edition that was held in South Africa in 2010, but they are back this year after a third-place finish in their domestic tournament.
During the 2009 tournament, Duminy, who has also played for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, finished as the highest run-getter. Their then captain Andrew Puttick also hit a century and remains the lone CLT20 centurion till date.
The Cobras have the firepower, both in batting and bowling. Apart from Duminy, the Cobras will bank on Gibbs and Shah to lead their charge. Gibbs is acknowlegded to be one of the best hitters of a cricket ball and his name is enough to demoralise the opposition bowlers.
Shah is another stylish stroke player who has got considerable success in Twenty20 cricket. He has a strike rate of close of 130 and his experience of having played for the Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Kochi Tuskers Kerala will be invaluable for the team.
With Dale Steyn's fiery pace and the likes of Langeveldt and Kemp in the bowling department, the Cobras also possess match-winners with the ball. Again, all the three bowlers have crucial IPL experience and understand how to bowl in Indian conditions. Stey's express pace followed up by some incisive bowling by Kemp and Langeveldt will surely test the opposition batsman. The Cobras also have spinner Robin Peterson in their ranks. He picked up 15 wickets on Indian tracks during the 2011 World Cup and his threat cannot be undermined as well.
All in all, the Cobras pack quite a punch and are one of the favourites to go the distance. The Cobras will play their first game against New South Wales Blues on September 24.
Cape Cobras squad: Jean-Paul Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Justin Kemp, Rory Kleinveldt, Charl Langeveldt, Richard Levi, Johann Louw, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Andrew Puttick, Michael Rippon, Owais Shah, Dale Steyn, Dane Vilas.