War­riors are not giv­ing up se­ries hopes

The Herald (South Africa) - - Sport - Alvin Reeves [email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

The War­riors will have a skip in their step when they face the Co­bras in their 4-Day Fran­chise Se­ries clash at New­lands start­ing on Mon­day after a su­perb vic­tory in their last out­ing.

The third-placed War­riors whipped the Ti­tans in East Lon­don last week and kept their very slim ti­tle hopes alive.

Coach Ri­vash Gobind has not given up on the ti­tle race just yet and has im­pressed on his team that they need to keep win­ning in their fi­nal three matches and then see how the other re­sults go.

A win over the ta­ble-top­ping Co­bras this week would cer­tainly open the door slightly, but more so for the sec­ond­placed Li­ons.

“We’re just try­ing to win each game now,” Gobind said.

“The Co­bras are quite some way out at the front, so it’s out of our hands as to where we fin­ish.

“But our goal re­mains to try to win as many of the re­main­ing three games as pos­si­ble.”

It was a close af­fair when the sides met in Port El­iz­abeth in De­cem­ber.

A ca­reer-best eight wick­ets in a marathon ef­fort of 50.4 overs by Dane Piedt was the dif­fer­ence be­tween the sides in a 37-run Co­bras vic­tory.

“We’ve had the same chat with the play­ers as we had be­fore the last game against them be­fore the end of the year,” he said.

“We saw what hap­pened there, the guys ran them pretty close even though we didn’t play very well. We are pretty con­fi­dent that if we rock up in Cape Town and ex­e­cute our skills over the four days like we did this past week­end, we should be able to get into a po­si­tion to force a re­sult.”

The good news for the War­riors is that quicks Sisanda Ma­gala and Lutho Si­pamla have both re­cov­ered from in­jury and are avail­able for this game.

As a re­sult, team se­lec­tion will prove in­ter­est­ing, with ex­pe­ri­enced seamer Basheer Wal­ters hav­ing picked up five wick­ets in the sec­ond in­nings against the Ti­tans.

Co­bras coach Ash­well Prince says his team are tak­ing mat­ters day by day.

“A win is 16 points, a loss is 10 points, so the 19½- point lead we have can be turned around pretty quickly if things don’t go the right way,” he said. “It’s one game at a time. “We have to ap­proach ev­ery game the same way, start­ing from nought for nought and build­ing our way into the game, whether it’s bat­ting or bowl­ing, and in time wres­tle our way into a po­si­tion of ad­van­tage in a game.

“That’s go­ing to be the same for all three games.”

The Co­bras may be with­out open­ing bats­man Jan­ne­man Malan, while Zubayr Hamza is not avail­able.

Malan faces a fit­ness test on a fin­ger in­jury, while Hamza is in the Proteas’ setup.

Log stand­ings after seven matches: 1 Co­bras 140.04; 2 Li­ons 120.62; 3 War­riors 94.60; 4 Knights 91.56; 5 Ti­tans 90.72; 6 Dol­phins 71.72.

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