The Sunfoil Series is building up to a thrilling climax with three teams still in the hunt for the title and just one round of matches to go. The final weekend of four-day cricket could get rather tense.
The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, bizhub Highveld Lions and the Chevrolet Warriors all have a shot at bagging the honours and, while the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras are currently favourites, the Chevrolet Warriors have an enticing match against the bizhub Highveld Lions coming up.
The Chevrolet Warriors might only have an outside chance, needing a significant number of points from their match and for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras to falter in their clash against the Chevrolet Knights, but skipper Davy Jacobs is thrilled to have his side in such a good position.
"For us it's a big deal. Our coach gave us a three-year plan and to be in this position in the first season of that three-year plan is very exciting.
"It's sometimes not that hard to win a t20 competition, because you need one or two guys to fire throughout the campaign, but with four-day cricket you need more than that. You don't need a team, you need a unit and that's what we've been focusing on,” Jacobs said.
While the national team has climbed the ranks right to the top of the Test rankings, four-day cricket has been alive and well on the domestic circuit and Jacobs puts it down to a shift in cricket worldwide. The skipper believes the focus has returned to the longest format of the game and players are eager to make it on the international scene in Test cricket.
"I think there's been a shift in cricket again lately. When T20 started everybody wanted to play IPL and Champions League, the Warriors included. We focussed so much on T20 and limited overs cricket and four-day cricket was quite far behind,” said Jacobs.
"Now there is a shift in world cricket again where Test cricket is the main thing and it's no longer just about playing for South Africa anymore, it's about playing Test cricket for South Africa. The Warriors as a franchise definitely wants to do well in four-day cricket, we feel that it's first prize.”
The Chevrolet Warriors had a slight hiccup in their penultimate game over the weekend, when they were dismantled by the Sunfoil Dolphins. The Eastern Cape franchise was bowled out for 92 in their first innings and 198 in their second. This leaves them 15.26 points adrift from the table-topping Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
Jacobs admits that the wicket in Durban was rather tricky and, while the chances of the Chevrolet Warriors bagging the title are rather slim, the skipper says his side’s approach will be the same as it has been over the season and their approach in terms of searching for valuable bonus points will all depend on the position they find themselves in.
"The last game against the Dolphins was really disappointing. I think that wicket was almost prepared for a two-day game, but we're in this position now and we'll just have to make sure our approach is the same as it has been.
"I'm not entirely sure that we deserve the title. You don't just rock up one season and expect to win the title, but there are a lot of things we'll look at this weekend with things like batting points and bowling points, so it all depends on the position we find ourselves in,” Jacobs added.