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Brendon Louw gets his chance behind the stumps

Hollywoodbets Dolphins assistant coach Mduduzi Mbatha has highlighted the importance of consistency as they prepare to welcome the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras to Durban for round three of the 4-Day Domestic Series starting on Monday. 

The hosts won their opening match of the first-class season emphatically against defending champions Imperial Lions at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium, but were then themselves thrashed by the VKB Knights when they travelled to Bloemfontein for round two. 

Now back on their home turf, they are aiming for a return to winning ways against a visiting team that has failed to win a game so far in 2020/21. 

“We had a brilliant start against the Lions where everything we wanted to improve on during the off season clicked into place nicely,” Mbatha stated. “But then all that went out of the window in the second game.  

“I think we need to be more consistent when it comes to having the same hunger and desire. Unfortunately, when we got to Bloem we were really outplayed. We were just inconsistent about the way we executed, we started poorly and that lead to us struggling.  

“I think we’ve had a good week now to reflect on that loss, the guys have chatted about it and I feel we’re in a good space heading into round three against the Cobras next week.” 

There was no cricket this past week as the teams were given a break. It was a good time for the Cape side to regroup after they lost their opening match narrowly to the Momentum Multiply Titans and had to fight back to escape with a draw in round two against the Imperial Lions. 

But with the next set of games likely to give the competition more shape, Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince knows his side may have not made the brightest of starts, but he is also cognisant of the fact that his players have not played poorly either.  

“Even though we don’t have the points on the board, the performances have been encouraging so we’re still in a good space,” he said. “We played really well and should have won the first game in all honesty, but let ourselves down on the final day.  

“In Johannesburg last week we started the game poorly, but then came back really well to earn a credible draw. So I’m satisfied so far and we’re looking forward to the game against the Dolphins.” 

All the teams this week will be without key players due to national call-ups as the Proteas prepare to face England in a limited-over series starting next week. 

Prince believes he has prepared for that, adding: “It’s been a pre-season where we had to think outside the box, when I say think outside the box, we have had to include players from our senior provincial structures who could potentially come in to the Cobras when we get national call-ups or there are injuries throughout the season.  

“We have three senior players who have been called into the Proteas squad for the upcoming England tour and due to it being played in a bio bubble, they’ve had to pick a larger-than-usual squad. We will definitely be looking at senior provincial players.”  

“Someone who will get an opportunity behind the stumps with Kyle Verreynne being called up to the Proteas, is WP wicket-keeper batsman Brendon Louw – he is one of those senior provincial cricketers who has been training with us. He is an experienced cricketer, having previously played at SWD and has had a taste of some franchise cricket when SWD still formed part of the Warriors franchise, so he will be looking forward to another crack at franchise cricket.”

“On the injury front, Jason Smith is still out and Ziyaad Abrahams, who has come on and done a huge job for us the first couple of games – a solid young bowler, very accurate and has picked up some vital wickets so far this season – unfortunately, picked up a hamstring strain having bowling quite a lot of overs in the first innings at the Wanderers which he is nursing at the moment and misses out on the Durban trip this week.”

Spinners Imran Manack and Dyllan Matthews, who has been training with the Western Province Squad in the pre-season, are included in the squad.

Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras Squad: Zubayr Hamza (Captain), Corbin Bosch, Nandre Burger, Tony De Zorzi, Isma-eel Gafieldien, Brendon Louw (wicket-keeper), Pieter Malan, Imran Manack, Dyllan Matthews, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Tshepo Moreki, Calvin Savage

All matches in the 4-Day Domestic Series are being covered via ball-by-ball commentary on the Cricket South Africa (CSA) website, www.cricket.co.za.

HEAD TO HEAD – Hollywoodbets Dolphins v Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras 

Matches Played        32 

Dolphins Win            07                   

Cobras Win                10 

Draw                           15