The Cape Cobras’ appearance at or near the summit the past four seasons was based on a simple philosophy. An attacking mind-set with the ball and a focus on reaching the business-end with wickets in hand when batting, have secured them one Momentum One Day Cup title, and have seen them share the trophy on two other occasions when the finals were abandoned due to rain. Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach, would like to continue this approach when they travel to the Wanderers Stadium for their clash with the Highveld Lions in the opening match of the One Day Cup competition of 2015/2016.
Three South African fast bowlers won’t be considered for the match on Saturday. Rory Kleinveldt returns after a successful campaign for Northamptonshire, but is rested for the first match, while Wayne Parnell and Beuran Hendricks are still completing their rehabilitation after injuries. Richard Levi will return from Northamptonshire, where he spent a period on the side-lines with a broken index finger, but Adams said he had a hit on Monday and is raring to go at the Wanderers.
Historically, Levi has been sensational at the Wanderers. Levi struck 350 runs in the domestic 50-over format last season, and his partnership with Andrew Puttick at the top of the order this season will be a pivotal factor for the Newlands-based team. Puttick averaged 72.44 in the One Day Cup competition last season. Stiaan Van Zyl, national opener of the Cobras, will slot in at number three at the Wanderers, with Omphile Ramela to follow.
Dane Vilas was the best middle-order batsman for the Cobras in the limited-overs format last season, and he and the captain, Justin Ontong, will control the middle of the innings. Adams says the beauty of the Cobras squad right now is that Van Zyl and Ontong are both capable bowlers who can be called upon if one of the other bowlers suffers at the hand of the opposition. Van Zyl showed in the first test against Bangladesh in July that he can be a useful slow-medium seam bowler.
He also captured the key wicket of Marlon Samuels in the Test series against the West Indies in the 2014/2015-season. The Cobras are set to use four seam bowlers, Vernon Philander, Dane Paterson, Mthokozisi Shezi and Tshepo Moreki, at the Bullring on Saturday.