Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Proteas batsmen Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma are expected to play for the Cape Cobras in the Sunfoil Series opening match against defending champions Knights at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on September 19.

Fast bowler Vernon Philander is also in contention to feature against the Warriors if he proves his fitness.

Looking ahead to the season‚ Cobras assistant coach Faiek Davids said the team was ignited and united after a solid pre-season of 11 weeks when they ticked all the boxes of their preparations. "There are so many options available to us in the top order because we have Jason Smith‚ Pieter Malan‚ who is a possibility at No3‚ Justin Ontong‚ Zubayr Hamza and Aviwe Mgijima‚" he said.

"Hashim Amla will be available for the opening match of the season against the Knights which will open up different combinations and we are in a very good space as a team."

To wrap up their preparations‚ the Cobras will play a two-day match against the Warriors in Oudtshoorn starting on Friday where Bavuma and Philander will feature.

"The rehabilitation of Philander‚ who missed the final Test against England with a back spasm‚ will be monitored and discussed with the national team management but he might play in Oudtshoorn depending on his fitness. There is even a chance he might feature as a batsman and Bavuma will definitely play‚" said Davids.

The other match of the opening week entails the Warriors making the trip from the Eastern Cape to take on the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

The two teams struggled last season with the Warriors ending their campaign at the foot of the table while the Lions finished second from bottom.

The respective coaches, Malibongwe Maketa and Geoffrey Toyana, will be looking for better results.

In the other match of the opening week the Titans‚ who finished second last season‚ host the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Pretoria in what will be an evenly contested match.

In Pretoria‚ there were recent rumours about the future of coach Mark Boucher but the former Proteas wicketkeeper has moved to reaffirm his association with the franchise.

"I have a great relationship with my support staff and the players and this is where I want to be‚" Boucher said.

"I enjoyed a successful first season in charge‚ winning two out of a possible three trophies and I am aiming to carry this winning culture into the new domestic season ahead," he said.

TimesLIVE

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