Birch up for tough fight

Warriors speedster Andrew Birch 
Picture: Gallo Images

There will be no holds barred as the Warriors approach their final two group matches of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with great anticipation this weekend, says gritty seamer Andrew Birch.

The Eastern Cape franchise play the Highveld Lions in Potchefstroom tomorrow and the Cape Cobras in East London on Sunday and both are must-win games.

Birch, who is the aggressor up front with the new ball for the Warriors, said the team would be up for the fight.

“There is nothing to lose at this stage. You are either going through or you are out. So the guys are playing fearless cricket starting on Friday,” he said.

With nine group matches remaining among all the teams, it is tough to calculate what the Warriors have to do to sneak into the semifinals, but it is likely they will ultimately need the rain to stay away and for some other results to go their way.

“It’s just a case of winning and seeing what happens from there. We can only control what we can control at the moment,” Birch said.

The 32-year-old, who is driven by a fiery passion, is among the leading wicket-takers in the competition but would like nothing more than to add to his tally of seven this weekend.

“Obviously, it’s been a tough competition. I’ve been able to hold my head up high by producing the goods. I’d like more wickets but I’m pretty happy with my performances.

“But it’s ultimately up to the team now to get us through these last two games. Hopefully, I can perform again and we can end up in a semifinal.”

Birch has made telling breakthroughs for the Warriors at the top of the innings so far.

“That’s why I’m there to strike early and that’s key in T20 cricket. If you take wickets, you can restrict batters. If we can get two or three wickets in the first six, it’s a bonus and really puts us on the front foot. “Luckily we did that the other night against the Dolphins. We just scraped through in the end. Had we not got those wickets in the beginning, it would have been a different story.”

Birch is relishing the prospect of a possible semifinal which, if they do clinch it, will most likely be against the Titans, who have already beaten them twice this campaign.

“The Titans have been a formidable team.

“The other guys in other teams we’ve played against quite often. Not to say they haven’t had an impact on games but it hasn’t been as daunting as playing the Titans where it’s like playing against the Proteas.

“They have some seriously good players and they rotate them all the time so they are fresh and hungry to go.

“But it’s been a lovely experience and it will stand us in good stead playing against that kind of player.”

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