Warriors aim to go on scoring

Birch expects seamers to play key role against Knights at Buffalo Park

The Warriors are looking to ride their wave of recent success in East London when they face the Knights in their penultimate Sunfoil Series cricket fixture at Buffalo Park, starting on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, the Warriors pulled the rug out from under the Titans as they snatched a dramatic last-gasp victory off the final two balls of the game at their second home.

They return to the scene of that triumph this week and the experienced Andrew Birch expects the seamers to play a major role in tandem with off-spinner Simon Harmer.

“We’ve played well there recently,” Birch, 32, said this week.

“We’ve asked for a little more grass on the pitch so that it brings our seamers into play.

“Also, with the extra bit of grass on the pitch it’s taken some turn so Harmie {Harmer] has come into play.”

Harmer, who plays for Essex on a Kolpak deal, has been superb for the Warriors in four-day cricket this season and has already taken 38 wickets, the best return in the country so far.

“He’s bowling unbelievably well and is the leading wicket-taker in the competition at the moment.

“He was the leading wicket-taker in county cricket as well last season.

“So he’s doing a great job. He’s also not going at a great rate, he’s been able to tie down an end so we’ve been able to work the seamers from the other side.

“So the seamers have bowled nicely, but I must say Harmie takes a lot of credit for the position we are in at the moment.”

The Warriors occupy the No 1 position on the log with only two matches to play.

Their lead, however, is less than a point over second-placed Cape Cobras.

They know how important victory over third-placed Knights will be this weekend.

“It’s a huge, huge game for us. The win in the last game put us in a very good position on the log.

“We top the log now and it’s up to us to play good cricket this weekend against the Knights.

“Hopefully we can put in a good performance and take it all the way to Durban against the Dolphins in our last game.”

Birch has played in only two Sunfoil Series matches this season and both were in the first half.

With star batsman Colin Ackermann out of the team and on honeymoon, Birch believes he may come into reckoning for selection this week, depending on the makeup of the team.

“Obviously, Ackers is out this weekend because he’s just got married, so he’s off to Mauritius.

“So there’s an opportunity for someone to step up to the plate. If it’s me I’d like to help the team get over the line this weekend.” Ackermann is a massive loss to the team. He has racked up 628 runs and is the leading run-scorer for the side.

Birch paid tribute to the current structures at the Warriors, saying caretaker coach Rivash Gobind had been instrumental in the team’s success.

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