Botha praises fighting spirit
EP coach hopes to keep momentum heading into new year
Eastern Province coach Piet Botha said the belief in the team is what carried them to a 64-run victory over KwaZulu-Natal Coastal in the CSA One Day Challenge at the weekend.
Botha was full of praise for his teams fighting spirit in the match at Kingsmead, which saw them defend a relatively low score by their standards, having made 200 all out inside their allotted 50 overs.
The visitors showed determination as they defended the low score, bowling the KZN Coastal side out for just 134, thanks to an impressive bowling display by seamer Kelly Smuts, who picked up five wickets for 34 runs in his 10 overs.
“We started off well with a good partnership with Eddie Moore (61) and Matthew Breetzke (51) which set us on our way nicely, but ran into a bit of trouble in the middle order when the spinners came on so we couldn’t capitalise on the good start we had,” he said.
“Being bowled out for 200 in 45 overs was not ideal for us based on the start we had, so we needed to bowl well. We needed early wickets which we got thanks to Glenton Stuurman and Kelly Smuts in particular.
“So we kept them under pressure throughout the innings. We bowled and fielded very well. In the end, it was not the most convincing score from us, but we still managed to win and claim the bonus point, so it shows the character of the team and shows that they are desperate to win,” Botha remarked.
Botha said the energy the team brought to the field was felt by the opposition and he admits it was key for the team to keep playing positive cricket and fight for every run.
“I think there is a lot of belief in our team at the moment, irrespective of how things turn out, we just keep believing that we can turn the tide in any situationPiet Botha, EP coach
“I think there is a lot of belief in our team at the moment, irrespective of how things turn out, we just keep believing that we can turn the tide in any situation.
“We should have got more runs, but it was commendable how we managed to defend that score. The guys kept believing that we could do it and took a very good team effort from our side,” Botha said.
He added that addition of franchise players like Moore and Clyde Fortuin added more impetus to the squad and it showed as Moore starred with the bat while Fortuin quietly went about his business behind the stumps.
In the CSA 3-Day Provincial Cup match, both teams had good innings with the bat as EP won the toss and chose to bat first.
Botha said their aim was to get a decent first innings score which they did, eventually declaring on 392 for six wickets, as four batsmen went past the 50-run mark.
The hosts had Marques Ackerman (136) to thank for taking them past 300, as wickets fell around him, the team eventually ended on 304 all out in their first innings.
EP declared in their second innings on 220 for five, leaving Coastal with over 300 to chase for victory.
The hosts were on the ropes at 36 for three wickets before bad light brought an end to proceedings, with the match spoils being shared.
“As always in Durban, bad light brought an end to the match at around 2 pm, which is quite disappointing. I think we could have gotten quite close, but it was not meant to be,” Botha added.
The team take a short break, as players join their families for the festive season. EP will travel to Centurion to take on Northerns in the middle of January.