Sport / Cricket

Heinz Schenk
4 minute read
2 Nov 2018
1:18 pm

What we’ve learned from the domestic 4-day series to date

Heinz Schenk

It's generally been the veterans that have held sway, but the Warriors might have a prodigy in 19-year-old Sinethemba Qeshile.

19-year-old Sinethemba Qeshile has impressed mightily for the Warriors. Photo: Gallo Images.

Four rounds of the domestic 4-day Franchise series have been completed and it’s clear who’s setting the standard.

Ashwell Prince’s revolution at the Cape Cobras is in full swing, with his charges having won all four of their matches.

Meanwhile, sprouts of life have emerged at the Highveld Lions, who lie second and seem to enjoy playing under new coach, Enoch Nkwe.

Yet it’s been tough going for some others.

Here’s what we’ve learned from the opening rounds.

Philander on the mend

Vernon Philander during day 3 of the 4 Day Franchise Series match between WSB Cape Cobras and Hollywoodbets Dolphins at PPC Newlands on October 31, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

The Cobras have been outstanding as a team to date, with various individuals contributing.

Yet from a national interest perspective, Vernon Philander’s return is rather significant.

The stocky all-rounder had been on the sidelines since the Proteas’ Test series against Sri Lanka due to an ankle injury.

His return this week was pretty emphatic.

Not only did he score only his third first-class century – sharing a franchise record sixth wicket stand of 228 with opener Pieter Malan – but also bowled solidly.

Philander took 2/34 in the first innings against the Dolphins and will hope this all-round performance is a perfect springboard for the international season.

After all, there are some observers who believe he could be a trump card for the World Cup next year.

Beuran shows the value of patience

Beuran Hendricks of bizhub Highveld Lions during day 1 of the 4 Day Franchise Series match between Warriors and bizhub Highveld Lions at St George’s Park Cricket Stadium on October 01, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Beuran Hendricks was the next best thing in South African cricket about four years ago.

A left-armer that can swing the ball, he was the leading wicket-taker in the domestic Pro20 and booked himself a ticket to 2014’s T20 World Cup.

But injuries and a crisis of confidence saw him leave the Cobras on loan at the end of 2016, a move made permanent last season.

Hendricks has been steady during that time, but still inconsistent.

At least, however, he’s been backed throughout and now that faith is being rewarded.

The 28-year-old is the joint leading wicket-taker with 21 at an average of just 17.33 and is relishing being the leader of his attack.

Some things are worth waiting for.

Titans realise depth doesn’t immediately translate into results

Alfred Mothoa of the Titans during day 3 of the 4 Day Franchise Series match between Multiply Titans and Hollywoodbets Dolphins at SuperSport Park on September 28, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

The cornerstone of the Titans’ gigantic domestic success over the last few years isn’t just the presence of many international-class players.

What they’ve also done shrewdly is broaden their player base at lower levels to compensate for these stars being absent on national duty.

In all honesty, Mark Boucher’s charges have been shielded from that over the past two years, yet this season they’ve had to explore their depth pretty thoroughly.

Boucher has used no less than 20 players to date and has had to use the franchise system extensively, calling up forgotten Easterns men like Matthew Arnold and Clayton August.

As a consequence, results have been inconsistent.

Warriors might have a prodigy in their ranks

They always punch way above their weight in the Eastern Cape, but that also means not a lot of truly world-class players emerge – no disrespect to all the usual performers though.

It’s little wonder then that 19-year-old Sinethemba Qeshile is making waves.

The national Under-19 star, rather ironically, didn’t score a lot of runs on the side’s tour to England in mid-year but clearly finds the bigger franchise stage to his liking.

Qeshile averages 47.60 from six innings currently, with three half-centuries.

Two of those came in one match against the Lions.

More impressively, Qeshile recovered from two ducks in the game against the Warriors to score a solid 99 this week against the Knights.

That’s class.

Dolphins and Knights kept afloat by two vets

Pite van Biljon of the VKB Knights during day 2 of the 4 Day Franchise Series match between VKB Knights and Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Diamond Oval on October 09, 2018 in Kimberley, South Africa. (Photo by Louis Botha/Gallo Images)

The Knights’ underpowered squad has predictably meant that they dwell in the bottom half of the table.

Without 32-year-old captain Pite van Biljon, it probably could’ve been worse.

The right-hander has been in magnificent form, smashing a competition-leading 505 runs at 72, including an unbeaten 177 this week against the Warriors.

It’s really just reward that he’s been picked up by the Jozi Stars for the upcoming Mzansi Super League.

In Durban, this have gone pear-shaped for the Dolphins, which is weird given the talent at their disposal.

Everyone has chipped in to an extent, but a combined effort has been lacking.

At least, Vaughn van Jaarsveld continues to prove his worth.

The left-hander is the leading run scorer for them with 287 runs, continually performing in sticky situations.

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