On-fire Warriors head into semis
Three wins on the bounce mean the Warriors will be the side to look out for in the Momentum One-Day Cup playoffs this week.
Victories over the Titans, Dolphins and the Cobras in East London on Saturday enabled the Warriors to clinch third spot and a semifinal berth.
They appear to be hitting their straps at the right time as they head to Johannesburg to face the second-placed Lions in the semis on Wednesday.
Warriors seamer Sisanda Magala sent a message out to his detractors by taking a career-best six for 24 as the Cobras were bundled out for a mere 188 at Buffalo Park on Saturday.
The Warriors cruised home by eight wickets and 15 overs to spare, with Matthew Breetzke scoring a superb 80 not out.
“The celebrations can start, but not too much — we still have a semifinal to play on Wednesday,” Magala said.
“Eddie [Moore] spoke about it in the huddle that we want to start well and on the front foot and set the tone.
“The two openers really did that and made my job a little bit easier, so it was a really good performance.”
Skipper Moore said the three consecutive wins set a good platform for the playoffs.
“I thought the boys were really clinical today. We’ve been playing really well together over the last three weeks or so.
“It is a nice time to build some momentum going into the playoffs.”
Warriors coach Robbie Peterson was never one to back down in his playing days and he has moulded the Warriors into a unit who take the game to their opposition.
“The coach is expecting us to play a positive brand of cricket,” Moore, who made a quick-fire 40 on Saturday, said.
“He wants us to always play off the front foot and I think we’ve shown that pretty well. We looking forward to continuing in that fashion.”
“We feel we are peaking at the right time. We are full of confidence and feel we can go into the playoffs and get going with the basics again.”
Disappointed spinner Dane Piedt admitted the Cobras need to work on their limited overs cricket.
“Well, it’s been a very disappointing last seven games we’ve played ... we lost all seven.
“That is the way the cookie crumbles, I’m afraid, and we have a lot of thinking and analysing to do because we are just way behind at the moment.
“It’s been a lack of runs and a collapse to go with it. We’ve got good starts in the competition, but unfortunately it never kicked on and we found ourselves wanting, with the lower order coming in with 12-15 overs to go.
“It’s never an ideal situation, we never had a top-five player in these seven games that we have lost batting in the last 10 overs, which is always going to be difficult.
“We were thoroughly outplayed in all departments.”
Meanwhile, Shaun von Berg came back to haunt his former team with a maiden career five-for that dumped defending champions the Titans out of the Momentum One-Day Cup at the expense of the Knights, who won a one-sided clash by seven wickets in Centurion on Sunday.
The leg-spinner, a SuperSport Park favourite for most of his career, claimed List A best figures of five for 33 to help dismiss the home side for a paltry 138, before Jacques Snyman’s powerful 35 led the visitors to the target in just 30.1 overs for a bonus-point win.
They got there with a few late bumps, although that mattered little as victory was the most important factor for both teams heading into what was effectively a quarterfinal.
The match also concluded the regular season of the competition, with the Central Franchise pipping their more illustrious hosts to the final qualifying position.
They ended in fourth spot and will now travel to Durban to face the Dolphins in Tuesday’s first semifinal, with the second last-four showdown to be hosted by the Lions against the Warriors on Wednesday.