Warriors in a tough position

PETER MARTIN

The Warriors cricket team have had rather a topsy-turvy go at the 2019/2020 Momentum One Day Cup season, having played, at the time of writing, seven matches, winning two, losing four with one match abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.

Warriors batsman Eddie Moore at St George’s Park playing The Titans.
Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Having gleaned only 11 points from their seven matches, the Eastern Cape franchise is in a vulnerable situation where they are unlikely to qualify for the final play-offs.

On Sunday the Warriors return to Buffalo Park for a vital game against log-leaders, Durban-based Dolphins, and a tough match is envisaged.

The Dolphins have 26 points but the Lions are hot on their heels with 22 points and a game in hand.

The top four teams on the log at the end of 10 matches advance to play-offs and the Warriors’ focus will be on finishing in the top four. Coming second will mean a home semi against the number three team.

Just below the Warriors are the Titans on 10 points. Last month, the two teams clashed in Port Elizabeth and the Pretoria team triumphed by five wickets, which was a big setback for the Warriors.

Injuries and call-ups to the national team have also affected the Warriors.

They have without a doubt missed the batting, bowling and captaincy of usual skipper Jon-Jon Smuts, who is at present a member of the Proteas team opposing the touring Australians in an ODI series. Anrich Nortje is another key member of the attack who is involved with the Proteas on the international scene.

Fortunately fast-medium bowler Sisanda Magala is now available after being part of the SA Test squad and then picking up an injury.

Last Sunday the team played the Lions in Johannesburg. It was a rain-affected match reduced from 50 overs to 39. The Lions scored 254 for five wickets in their allotted overs and the target for the Warriors was reduced, through more rain, to 250 off 35 overs.

Most pleasing, the Warriors went for the win and unfortunately finished on 240 for nine wickets to lose a thriller by nine runs.

There’s another opportunity for the franchise.

They are scheduled to play the Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park on Saturday, March 14. The Cobras are currently propping up the log with eight points after seven matches but at the outset of the campaign they beat the Warriors in Oudtshoorn by 31 runs which should give them heart to repeat their good start to the series.

All-in-all the season appears to be heading for a great finish and hopefully the Warriors will advance through to the play-offs and maybe, just maybe, triumph in the final of the white-ball game.

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