Warriors could still influence outcome

Cricket ball. File picture
Cricket ball. File picture
Image: Pixabay.com

The Warriors may be out of the running for the 4-Day Franchise Series title, but could have a say as to who takes the crown this week.

The Eastern Cape franchise face the Highveld Lions in the final round of the competition in Potchefstroom starting on Monday.

The Warriors saw their dreams of the title go up in smoke when their match against the Dolphins was prematurely ended by the weather in East London.

But their opponents the Lions are only three points behind the log-leading Cape Cobras and it could go either way this week.

The Cobras face the Dolphins in Maritzburg in their final match.

Warriors coach Rivash Gobind is unhappy that his team’s challenge came to an end, but feels their slow start to the season ultimately cost them.

“We are disappointed to be out of the running, but in a competition like this, you’ve got 10 games to put yourself in a position,” he said.

“We played some really good cricket in the last half. We had a bit of a slow start [– it] probably cost us in the end.”

The Warriors have also been struck by a spate of injuries over the past few weeks while fast bowling ace Anrich Nortje recovers from ankle surgery.

“We’ve had a number of injuries over the last two weeks, some key players like Simon Harmer, Colin Ackermann and we’ll have Jon-Jon [Smuts] out of the next one.

“They’re in really good form, but we’ve also shown what we can do in recent weeks.”

Lions coach Enoch Nkwe says their primary focus will be to win in Potchefstroom. The title would come automatically if they continued what they had been doing.

Nkwe knows the Cobras can secure the title with a win, a draw or even a loss away at the Dolphins, while they can also surrender it with any one of those results, depending on what happens at Senwes Park.

“It can be difficult to control,” Nkwe said. “We’ve just got to keep investing our focus and energies in what we’ve been doing well.

“The Warriors [have] been playing good cricket the last couple of weeks, so they’ll be a really dangerous team.

“So, we’ve got to make sure we take care of our processes first and the result will take care of itself.”

Nkwe also paid tribute to the Cobras, saying that should they win the top prize, they will be deserving champions.

“The Cobras, if they win it, they would have deserved it.

“They’ve played good cricket throughout the season, but we’re going to do our utmost to keep that pressure going.

“We have to focus on all the things we’ve been doing well.

“But we’ll do our utmost to try to get that win, which will hopefully bring us the championship.”

The Lions won their third consecutive game last week, overcoming the Knights in Bloemfontein.

Nkwe said his players were ticking all the right boxes at the moment.