KZN Inland to meet a tough opponent in Northerns

2010-03-25 00:00

KZN Inland take on recently crowned Provincial Challenge 40-over champions Northerns in the last round of fixtures this weekend.

Maritzburg Oval is the venue, with the three-dayer starting today and the one-dayer on Sunday.

Changes to the Inland team from their double defeat to three-day champions Eastern Province in Port Elizabeth see the return of Bradley Moses, fast-bowling all-rounder Ollie Humphries and limited-over specialist Morne van Vuuren.

Moses will have learnt much from his time at the crease during Dolphins’ debut against Cobras at Newlands last weekend, and he brings class and stability to the top order.

Humphries will bring depth to the batting, be it up front or in the lower middle order, but more importantly, his genuine pace should add muchneeded penetration to an Inland attack that has struggled to bowl sides out this season.

Former Dolphin Van Vuuren, only available for home one-day matches due to work commitments, is a class act and he will be vital in Sunday’s match against coach Malibongwe Maketa’s potent Northerns line-up.

Unsurprisingly, given their last place by a considerable 16 points from nearest team Boland in the three-day competition, there are no Inland players in the Provincial Challenge top 20 batting or bowling averages, while Chad Barron — in his first season at this level — lies ninth in the 40-over batting stakes.

Barron (calf muscle strain) is out of the three-dayer, as is opening bat Mario Olivier (stress fracture), but could be back for Sunday’s clash.

Indicative of Inland being more suited to 40-over cricket is that spinners Kyle Nipper and Moses are 15th and 16th in the top 20, while wicketkeeper and skipper Tim Drummond has snared the largest number of victims behind the stumps.

Coach Doug Watson’s Inland squad are third-last among the 14 teams on the 40-over log, but could move up one or two places should they upset winners Northerns.

Northerns lie fourth in the three-day competition, but could move to a final-place third should they beat Inland.

The Pretoria lads are a solid all-round outfit with little in the way of weaknesses at this level. The 21-year-old Hoërskool Menlopark product, Rassie van der Dussen, (three hundreds and five fifties in 20 three-day innings this season) and Christiaan Schoeman have been heavy run-scorers.

Northerns’ bowling is more than competent: the 22-year-old Polokwane-born Tumi Masekela and Mandla Mashimbyi (37 three-day scalps each) make for a demanding seam attack, with effective back-up from off-spinner Eden Links.

TEAMS

Inland: Tim Drummond (capt), Oliver Humphries, Scott Tarr, Glen Addicott, Bradley Moses, Mohammed Faheem Suleman, Narvaar Harridave, Richard Hlela, Brady Barends, Mbasa Gqadushe, Cheslin Nhlapo, Kyle Nipper, Morne van Vuuren, Chad Barron.

Northerns: Francois Le Clus, Sean Nowak, Graeme van Buuren, Abram Ndlovu, James Mokonyama, Tumi Masekela, Eden Links, Christiaan Schoeman, Jeandré Jumat, Rassie van der Dussen, Wayne Scott, Mandla Mashimbyi, Douglas Hewitt.

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