Jon-Jon Smuts says spinners may have major role to play in Durban
Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts is expecting spinners to play a crucial role in his team's CSA T20 Challenge match against the Dolphins in Durban on Wednesday (6pm).
Smuts is all too aware that the Dolphins are likely to play to their strength which is a three-pronged spin attack spearheaded by Proteas Test left-arm turner Keshav Maharaj.
It’s a tactic that has been largely successful for them at home and it is one the Warriors will have to counteract.
“We haven't had a look at conditions yet. But with there being so much rain around, it would not surprise me if the pitch is a little on the dry side. So it might assist the spinners a bit,” Smuts said from Durban on Tuesday.
“Their coach Grant Morgan obviously gets conditions to suit his side, so I wouldn't be surprised if the pitch is quite dry to offer quite a bit on turn.”
The Warriors, who have been plagued by rain in their four fixtures so far, will be hoping the predicted bad weather bypasses Kingsmead.
“It's been extremely frustrating because you just can't build up any momentum. We've only really played one whole game against the Cobras where the toss played massive role.
“And the most frustrating thing is, it looks like there's more rain coming for Durban. But then again, it is what it is and we have to make do,” added Smuts.
Both teams have enjoyed success over the other in white ball cricket this season. The Warriors won their first encounter by eight wickets in Durban on February 26. In that One-Day Cup match, Sisanda Magala took five wickets and Gihahn Cloete made 55.
In the return fixture in Port Elizabeth, Sarel Erwee’s ton and Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s 83 cancelled out Smuts’ 76 as the visitors won by nine wickets.
And in their last encounter, it was that man Van Jaarsveld again who scored 53 while Maharaj took four wickets to ensure the Dolphins won their One-Day Cup semi-final by seven wickets.
“They're a good side. They play well as a unit and they in the same boat as us with a few younger players coming through. It's been a little bit hot and cold for both of us when we play each other.
“A guy like Vaughn is a big boundary hitter. So if you can limit his boundaries and put him under pressure.”
Smuts will be wanting Marco Marais to continue his good form. The forceful Border right-hander clubbed an unbeaten 82 off only 33 balls in the no result game against the Lions on Sunday.
“It was a helluva knock and something special. He was 18 runs away and if he had made them off the remaining seven or so balls, he would have broken the franchise record for the fastest century. To do that from the position that we were in is quite something and almost a bit sad that he didn't get the opportunity to get it.”
The match will be televised on SS8 from 5.45pm...