Warriors start from scratch

SA Domestic

Warriors coach Rivash Gobind insists that their MODC success over the past weekend is now history as they look forward to a return to Sunfoil Series action against the Highveld Lions in East London starting from Thursday.

The 2017/18 franchise season hits the final straight this week when the second half of the four-day competition resumes.

All six teams are still in contention for the title, with just under 24 points separating the Multiply Titans on top from the Lions at the bottom – the former beating the latter for the only overall win of the season in the last round.

The two limited-overs competitions have since followed, with the Titans winning the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge and the Warriors sharing the 50-over title with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.

Gobind feels they need to start from scratch at Buffalo Park.

“We will take some heart from that, but as I keep reminding my players, that’s come and gone now,” he said. “This is a new start and our progress hinges on how well we can adapt to the format and the performance we turn in on the day.

“The boys are pretty confident, but we all know that it’s a totally different skill set that we’re going to require now in the last bit of the season.

“We’re looking forward to it. The way the competition has gone in the first half of the season, pretty much every team is still in the running so it makes for an exciting climax.”

The Lions are coming off a massively disappointing few months when they missed out on the play-offs in both white-ball competitions, each time to the Warriors.

But again Gobind believes that form has little relevance to the longer-format game.

“They’ve been quite consistent playing four-day cricket over the last few years, so obviously what has happened for them in the white ball game will have no bearing on the game,” he added.

“They know how to win four-day games, but this will be an opportunity for us in East London. It’s different to what they are used to at the Wanderers and we’ll try to use that to our benefit.”

Lions counterpart Geoffrey Toyana admits it has been an underwhelming season for his charges, but says they are ready to put in one final push in a bid to salvage something from the campaign.

“We’ve prepared well over the last couple of days,” he stated. “Yes, we remain disappointed with how the 50-over competition went for us, which was not ideal, but this is now the competition we need to put all our focus on.

“I really believe everyone, including us, has a chance. It will be key to hit the ground running and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”

The Warriors squad is: Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Gihahn Cloete, Eddie Moore, Colin Ackermann, Lesiba Ngoepe, Yaseen Vallie, Clyde Fortuin, Simon Harmer, Ayabulela Gqamane, Tladi Bokako, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla

The Lions squad is: Stephen Cook (capt), Reeza Hendricks, Omphile Ramela, Rassie van der Dussen, Nicky van den Bergh, Wiaan Mulder, Mangaliso Mosehle, Nono Pongolo, Sean Jamison, Aaron Phangiso, Beuran Hendricks, Dominic Hendricks.