The cricket season gets under way on the Border this weekend as the fourth leg of the 2017 Africa Cup takes centre-stage at Buffalo Park from Friday to Sunday. Border will host Boland, KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Zimbabwe in a playoff for the final semifinal spot.
“It is a tough pool. T20 cricket can go any way. It takes just two overs to change the complexion of a game, so every team will have a chance this weekend. But with us playing at home I am quite confident we can pull it off and make the semifinals,” said Border coach Frank Plaatjes.
This year Border will be hoping for better weather after last year’s rain debacle. This when, despite getting off to a cracking start with a superb bonus point win, the final two days of play were washed out, with the qualifier decided by drawing lots, and Zimbabwe going through. “We are praying that the weather gods are on our side this time because we do want to play all three games, and I know that we are capable of going through to the next round if we just play to our full potential,” said Plaatjes.
Border has named a strong team, with Gionne Koopman taking over as captain. “I think I have a very good side in terms of the balance of the team. We have a very strong batting lineup, with a number of explosive batters in the lineup, as well as a superb bowling unit to back them up,” said Plaatjes.
Warriors contracted stars Christiaan Jonker, Yaseen Vallie, Aya Gqamane and Jerry Nqolo, as well as Border player of the 2016-2017 season Phaphama Fojela will all play an integral part in the team if Border are to make it to the finals weekend.
Rising Hudson Park High School fast bowling talent, Akhona Mnyaka will get the chance to impress and prove why he made a recent splash, becoming the youngest pick of the money-spinning Global T20 Destination League to take place in a few months’ time.
“I think this is a great platform for me to test myself and get myself ready for the Global T20 League later this year,” said Mnyaka.
“I made my debut for Border earlier this year, so I know the guys and am looking forward to playing with them in the Africa Cup. I want to put my hand up and do my best and help Border get to the semifinals.”
Top-order batsman Gerhardt Abrahams will also be looking to make an immediate impact on debut. Action gets under way on Friday at 12.45pm with Zimbabwe up against KZN Inland, followed by Border taking on Boland.
The team is: Gionne Koopman (capt), Mncedisi Malika, Gerhardt Abrahams, Somila Seyibokwe, Jerry Nqolo, Christiaan Jonker, Clayton Bosch, Yaseen Vallie, Aya Gqamane, Marco Marais, Phaphama Fojela, Sithembile Langa, Akhona Mnyaka
DispatchLIVE/ Ross Roche