The Chevrolet Warriors need to set a solid foundation that can serve as a launching pad for their potent middle-order of Davy Jacobs, Colin Ingram and Ashwell Prince to get their Momentum One-Day Cup back on track.
The match on Friday against the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park in East London is shaping up as a must-win clash for the embattled Chevrolet Warriors, but coach Piet Botha is not despondent.
“Last season we won five games and reached the finals. We have seven matches left in which to set the record straight after two early losses and a wash-out,” he said.
Botha said the Chevrolet Warriors put enormous pressure on the middle-order if they slip to 14 for 2 or 20 for 3. That means that Ingram, Prince and Jacobs face a very new ball and also have to gain momentum in the middle period.
There has been talk of moving Jacobs to the top of the order, but the player says there is statistical proof that he is a more accomplished and successful middle-order batsman in the limited formats.
“They have provided statistical evidence that I average in the 20s as opening batsman, but more than 40 when batting in the middle-order.
“The period in the Indian Premier League has really been helpful in improving my game against the spinners. Players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have truly assisted me to fine-tune my game in slow conditions against top-spinners,” he added.
Botha is convinced that the Chevrolet Warriors bowling attack has made major strides the past few games. The inspirational performances by Wayne Parnell and Basheer Walters in a losing cause against the bizhub Highveld Lions which saw the Lions lose three quick wickets in the middle period, was a case in point.
Jacobs said the Chevrolet Warriors need to address their shaky starts as a matter of urgency. “What we seek is a solid foundation up front. We don’t necessarily need to be off to a rollicking start; we just cannot afford those early wickets.”
Paul Adams, the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras coach, said his side had identified the period between the 26th and 40th overs as one in which the top and middle-order have faltered regularly. He feels It is important that they set the record straight in the middle period.
Those losses almost proved fatal against the Sunfoil Dolphins, but a superb ninth-wicket partnership between Dane Piedt and Charl Langeveldt enabled the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras to score a remarkable win.
The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras could not pull it out of the fire against the Nashua Titans. “Our bowling in the first power play was really a key factor in that loss, where we let ourselves down,” said Justin Ontong, the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras captain.
“Andrew Puttick has really blossomed, but other members of the top-order will have to assist Andrew with bigger contributions in the middle period.”
The loss of Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt after last season’s all-conquering campaign has given some newcomers like Beuran Hendricks an opportunity.
Adams said that Hendricks bowled with pace and venom at times, but just needs to fine-tune his focus a tad in the coming matches.
The match at Buffalo Park starts at 15h00 on Friday.
Chevrolet Warriors: Jon-Jon Smuts, Michael Price, Colin ingram, Ashwell Prince, Davy Jacobs (capt), Craig Thyssen, Wayne Parnell, Simon Harmer, Andrew Birch, Basheer Walters, Makhaya Ntini, Aya Gqamane, Colin Ackermann.
Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras: Richard Levi, Andrew Puttick, Stiaan van Zyl, Justin Ontong (capt), Yaseen Vallie, Dane Villas, Justin Kemp, Johann Louw, Charl Langeveldt, Dane Piedt, Beuran Hendricks, Alistair Gray, Lizaad Williams.