With JP Duminy's absence, now Hashim Amla has to share bulk of the responsibility of Cape Cobra's batting © Getty Images
With JP Duminy’s absence, now Hashim Amla has to share bulk of the responsibility of Cape Cobra’s batting © Getty Images

The Cape Cobras will engage the Northern Knights in the third match of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 on September 19. The South African side is high on international experience, and looks like one of the early favourites in the tournament. Shiamak Unwalla looks at the likely XI that will take the field for the Cobras.

Another team that has fallen prey to a combination of injuries and Indian Premier League (IPL), the Cape Cobras are lacking three massive players in JP Duminy, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis. It is a credit to them that despite these three juggernauts being absent, they still possess a potent side.

Richard Levi: The answer to the trivia question, “Who holds the record for fastest ton in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), Richard Levi became a household name with his 51-ball 117 against New Zealand —co-incidentally his opposition on the day will be Northern Knights, a team representing New Zealand. With his tremendous hitting abilities, Levi will be responsible for getting the Cobras off to a good start.

Hashim Amla: While he may not be the first person who comes to mind while making a T20 XI, Hashim Amla nonetheless has the ability to maintain a consistently high strike rate. While it may come as a shock to some, his ODI strike rate is actually more than that of both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli!

Stiaan van Zyl: There is little doubt that the left-handed Stiaan van Zyl has a lot of talent with the bat. He averages a healthy 44.51 in First-Class cricket with 14 tons and 27 fifties after 95 matches. However, in T20s he has yet to explode. He could look at the CLT20 2014 as an opportunity to build up his reputation of an all-round batsman.

Dane Vilas: The right-handed Dane Vilas is also the wicketkeeper of the side. While he made his T20 debut for South Africa against India in 2012, he has yet to make another appearance since. However, this could be chalked out more to the strength of the South African side than his personal shortcomings. He is an attractive batsman who can hit the ball a fair distance.

Justin Kemp: Back before the invention of T20 cricket made it almost mandatory for batsmen to hit sixes at will, Justin Kemp made a name for himself as a six-hitter. His ODI career, while short, was notable for his innings-to-sixes ratio; In the 66 times he batted for his country — all of which was before T20 cricket took off — he hit a staggering 60 sixes. As a frame of comparison, the next five batsmen above him in number of ODI sixes hit, have more or less the same number of sixes in 193, 183, 155, 269, and 255 innings respectively.

Justin Ontong: The Cobras’ skipper, Justin Ontong was earmarked as one for the future, but failed to live up to his billing. He is not quite the most dazzling batsman in the side, but his quality all-round skills make him more than useful to have in the side. He is a good fielder and can contribute with the ball.

Robin Peterson: An under-rated all-round cricketer, Peterson is someone who can keep the runs down from one end, and also score some crucial runs down the order. He will have an important role to play given that the tracks are likely to suit spin.

Vernon Philander: One of the best Test bowlers in recent times, Philander hasn’t quite set the record books on fire in the shortest format of the game. Despite this, Philander remains a bankable bowler, while his resolute batting is often overlooked — he remains one of the few batsmen who has yet to be dismissed in the fourth innings of a Test.

Dane Piedt: An off-spinner with his fair share of variations, Piedt could have a crucial role, being more of a wicket-taking option than Peterson. Over 30 matches into his T20 career, he has an impressive economy rate of 6.61, and could emerge as one of the finds of the tournament.

Rory Kleinveldt: The final two members of the list are the trusty pair of pace bowlers in Rory Kleinveldt and Charl Langerveldt. Kleinveldt is a bit of an all-rounder, with his share of variations while bowling his steady medium-pace.

Charl Langerveldt: At well over 39 years, Langerveldt is among the most experienced campaigners in T20 cricket at the moment. His numbers are exemplary — 133 wickets in 107 games an average of 21.52, a strike rate of just 16.9 and a decent economy rate of 7.6 — and speak volumes of a man who has rarely got his due in international cricket. This could be his last CLT20, and he would love to go out with a bang.  

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time)