Cobras welcome back skipper JP for One Day Cup semi

CAPE TOWN – The Cape Cobras will travel to SuperSport Park for their One-Day Cup semi-final against the Titans without Hashim Amla.

The Proteas star recently missed the ODI and T20 series against Sri Lanka due to personal reasons as he tends to his gravely ill father. Amla last played on March 1 for the Cobras against the Titans at Newlands.

“We’re not expecting him back for the semi-final,” Cobras coach Ashwell Prince said yesterday.

“We’ve given him the time and space at the moment. We’re not going to hassle him with trying to get him to come play a cricket match. He is dealing with far more serious business, so we’ve just given him that space.”

The Cobras will, though, welcome back their captain JP Duminy for the play-off match on Wednesday. Duminy has been sparkling form for the Proteas since his comeback from a long-term shoulder injury. Although it seems that the injury is still affecting his bowling and particularly throwing, Duminy has not missed a beat with bat in hand.

The stylish left-hander clubbed 33 not out off just 17 balls in the 2nd T20I before following it up with another rapid undefeated 34 off three balls less in the final T20I last Sunday.

Duminy will certainly bring an extra dimension to a Cobras’ batting unit that has misfired on occasion during the One-Day Cup this season. For all of Janneman Malan’s brilliance at the top of the order – 435 runs at an average of 48.33 at a strike-rate of 91.33 – and Kyle Verreynne’s innovation in the middle – 388 runs at 64.66 at a strike-rate of 94.17 – the Cobras are in desperate need for someone to break open the innings to get them over the 300-run mark that will be needed to be competitive at SuperSport Park.

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Ashwell Prince:We’ve given Hashim Ama the time and space at the moment. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

That burden will not be left entirely on Duminy’s shoulders though. Test cap Zubayr Hamza has showed promise in his limited-overs game this season with 310 runs at average of 51.66, and a big performance in a semi-final will certainly go a long way in raising his stocks in the white-ball cricket.

“I am still learning. I got off to a slow start in my 50-over career and obviously the first thing people look at is stats. So, I need to claw that back and give people a better reflection of what I am capable of,” Hamza said.

“However, that’s not my main priority at the moment. My main focus is just to contribute towards the team as much as I can. Especially now that we have ended up fourth due to inconsistent performances over the campaign. 

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We had a long chat about it and we remain positive that we can give ourselves the best chance of winning the title.

I just want to continuously learn and adapt my game in order to help the team.”


Cape Times

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