Co­bras ‘un­der­stand im­por­tance’ of pick­ing up away points

Cape Argus - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

THE T20 Chal­lenge may only just have be­gun with the open­ing round of fix­tures com­pleted, but Cape Co­bras bats­man Aviwe Mgi­jima knows the value of points on the road.

The Co­bras went down by 15 runs on the Duck­worth-Lewis method to the Dol­phins at Cen­tu­rion last Sun­day, and will be back in ac­tion on the Highveld this week­end.

On Fri­day, Ash­well Prince’s team face the Lions, who also lost their open­ing game, at the Wan­der­ers be­fore re­turn­ing to Su­perS­port Park on Sun­day to bat­tle the Ti­tans in a mouth-wa­ter­ing clash. The Co­bras only play their first home game next Fri­day when they host the Lions.

“Ob­vi­ously it is still early in the com­pe­ti­tion as we have only played one game and one de­feat is not the end of a cam­paign, but we un­der­stand the im­por­tance of pick­ing up points away from home,” Mgi­jima said. “We play three con­sec­u­tive games on the Highveld (in­clud­ing last Sun­day’s match against the Dol­phins) and we have to pick up some points along the way.

“It helps build mo­men­tum when we re­turn to play in con­di­tions we know well. In the past we have seen that teams that are able to build up early mo­men­tum do well in this com­pe­ti­tion.”

Al­though the Co­bras bowl­ing unit found the go­ing tough last Sun­day, con­ced­ing a fran­chise record T20 score, Mgi­jima cer­tainly en­joyed the bat­ting sur­face at Su­perS­port Park. He smashed an un­beaten 37 off only 19 balls (3x4, 2x6) and was tim­ing the ball well. In fact, there was a gen­uine be­lief in the Co­bras squad, that along with Hashim Amla who was fly­ing as well, that the Western Cape side could have chased down the Dol­phins’ to­tal of 231/2 had the rain not in­ter­vened.

“Of course we be­lieved we were in the hunt. Hash was play­ing su­perbly well and af­ter us los­ing those early wick­ets, there wasn’t time to still block,” Mgi­jima said.

“You had to at­tack from ball one. I haven’t played much at the Wan­der­ers or Su­perS­port Park, but the pitch was a re­ally great one for bat­ting. I en­joyed my­self and (I) am re­ally look­ing for­ward to the Lions game at the Wan­der­ers.”

Co­bras cap­tain JP Du­miny con­curred with Mgi­jima with re­gards to the qual­ity of the pitch and was im­pressed with the 29-year-old bats­man.

“His­tor­i­cally, high num­bers are scored at the Highveld. But in say­ing that, we prob­a­bly gave them 30 runs too many,” Du­miny re­marked. “Our high­light was the way in which Hashim and Aviwe bat­ted un­der pres­sure.

“They ex­panded, in­stead of go­ing in­wards. That is some­thing all of us can learn from. Flaunt your tal­ent and show what you are made off un­der pres­sure.

“There were a cou­ple of soft dis­missals up front, in­clud­ing my wicket. We def­i­nitely have to front up to the pres­sure and take re­spon­si­bil­ity as a squad.”

Mgi­jima is en­joy­ing be­ing in the com­pany of Proteas such as Du­miny and Amla, and par­tic­u­larly the lat­ter, who he has now shared two big part­ner­ships with in the space of a cou­ple of months.

Last Sun­day’s un­bro­ken 88-run stand off only 40 balls fol­lows their mammoth 165-run stand in a Sun­foil Se­ries clash at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son when Amla guided Mgi­jima to his maiden first-class cen­tury against the Knights.

“Ob­vi­ously it is great bat­ting with guys like Hash. Even dur­ing train­ing, you learn so much from a player like him that has so much ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mgi­jima said.

“Out in the mid­dle it’s the same. You gain con­fi­dence from watch­ing him at the other end be­cause he makes bat­ting look so sim­ple. And when it’s your time to take guard, he al­ways says the right things to keep you calm and fo­cused at the same time.”

Aviwe Mgi­jima

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