The Pride of North West

2009-01-14 00:00

THE North West selectors have named a powerful team to meet KZN Inland in the SA Airways Challenge Series at the City Oval in Alexandra Park from today until Sunday.

The Potchefstroom-based province have included Highveld Lions players Werner Coetsee, Cliffie Deacon and Craig Alexander in their three-day team with Lions captain and South Africa “A” opening batsman, the hard-hitting Alviro Petersen, coming to Pietermaritzburg for Sunday’s 45-over match.

North West’s top batsmen — Christiaan Jonker, captain Brett Pelser and Muhammed Akoojee — are in Pietermaritzburg, but the province will be missing two outstanding bowlers in Etienne Gerber and Hilroy Paulse, who are injured, according to coach Jaco Peens.

But the presence of this pride of Lions presents a massive obstacle to Inland’s hopes of earning back-to-back victories over the next four days.

To this end, the roles of captain Ross McMillan, in-form player/coach Doug Watson and their other star performer in the Challenge Series, Morne van Vuuren, will be vital in leading Inland from the front.

Top of Pool B in the three-dayers, North West are 24 points ahead of sixth-placed KZN Inland, having beaten Namibia and Border.

Inland drew with Western Province in Paarl and Free State at home in the seven-province Pool B.

In both matches, though, Inland had a chance of winning had the elements not got in the way.

While the three-dayer at the Oval takes place from 9.30 am today through to Saturday, the 45-over match on Sunday may present a different challenge for North West.

After losing away to WP in the shorter version of the game, a devastating innings at the Oval from Inland wicketkeeper/batsman Tim Drummond destroyed Free State’s hopes in the one-day clash and sees the PMB-based side in second spot on the Pool B 45-over log. North West, however, lost their 45-over matches to Namibia and Border, and they lie sixth on the seven-team log without a point to their name.

“We have played good three-day cricket, but our one-day matches have been poor,” North West’s Jaco Peens told The Witness yesterday.

Accordingly, there is much to be gained by both provinces this weekend, as a win here and a win there will do wonders in furthering each side’s hopes in the search of berths in the play-off games at the end of the season. In this regard, bonus points in both the three-dayer and one-dayer are vital to the cause, which must guarantee attacking cricket.

Negative, safety-first cricket is of no use to either side at this point of the first-class cricket season, and hopefully the midlands supporters will come down to watch what should be an enthralling contest between bat and ball — and tactical options — over the next four days.

Meanwhile, the KZN Coastal squad has been named to take on Eastern Province in Pool A from today to Sunday in Port Elizabeth.

TEAMS

KZN Inland: Ross McMillan (capt), Doug Watson (player/coach), Mbasa Gqadushe, Tim Drummond, Kevershan Padayachee, Glen Addicott, Morne van Vuuren, Andrew Tweedie, Sashen Dorasamy, Jomu Mbili, Devon Ryland, Richard Mhlanzi, Kyle Nipper.

North West: Brett Pelser (capt), Johan Mostert, Jimmy Kgamadi, Muhammed Akoojee, Christiaan Jonker, Werner Coetsee, Cliffie Deacon, Chris Schoeman, Malusi Siboto, Craig Alexander, Sami Letsoalo, Vuzi Mazibuku, Alviro Petersen (Sunday only).

KZN Coastal: Rivash Gobind, Darren Govender, Khaya Zondo, Martin Bekker, Cameron Delport, Greg Fotheringham, Bradley Barnes, Keshav Maharaj, Mthokozisi Shezi, Viyash Gobind, Ugasen Govender, Cody Chetty.

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