Warriors upbeat ahead of Dolphins clash

By Alvin Reeves /  Herald LIVE

The high-flying Warriors will be chasing top spot on the Momentum One-Day Cup log against the Dolphins in Durban on Tuesday (1.30pm).

Both teams are unbeaten through three games and the Warriors trail the leading Dolphins by a mere two points.

A victory for Jon-Jon Smuts’ team would see them overtake the Dolphins approaching the halfway stage.Smuts is pleased with teams’ performance so far and is looking for them to continue the momentum.

“Hopefully it’s a good game. But for us it’s about playing and doing our things well and playing well under pressure,” said Smuts.

He is well aware of the threat a Proteas-laden Dolphins outfit presents.

“They do have a good side. They’ve got a few Proteas players which gives them a lot of confidence. Their Proteas players have put up some massive performances for them. Andile Phehlukwayo, David Miller, Imran Tahir have done well so they will be a really tough side to play.

“But we have a good record in Durban so we hoping to play some really good cricket there and come out on top.”

The Warriors came out on the right side of a low-scoring game against the Knights in Kimberley on Friday night, winnings by 15 runs. Matthew Breetzke (39), Lesiba Ngoepe (37) and Andrew Birch (38) saw the side to a revised total of 198 in a rain-interrupted affair.

The Knights appeared to be well on track for victory before the Warriors seamers pulled it back in conjunction with the spin of Smuts (2/22). Birch claimed 3/28.

“It wasn’t a great pitch. It was very soft and very dry on top. They had a lot of rain the previous week so there was a lot moisture underneath. It was very crusty on the top so it took a lot of spin as you saw by the figures,” Smuts said.

“But our seamers were really good. The guys bowled really well and according to plan. In those kinds of tight games, it’s always nice to get over the line early on in the campaign.

“We played really good cricket. Especially the last 15 overs of our batting. Andrew Birch batted very well with Sisanda Magala and Anrich Nortje in that period.

“Those guys hung in and probably got us about 40-50 runs where we could have easily been knocked over. So, that was unbelievable and the bowlers were then outstanding.”

Warriors coach Rivash Gobind confirmed Nortje would play this last game before joining the Proteas for the one-day international series against Sri Lanka starting in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“Yes, he is available for us against the Dolphins before he goes up and joins the big show. I think they also have all their Proteas, so it will make for a good game,” said Gobind.

“Both teams are playing well and we’ve had some good battles in the past. Let’s hope the Durban weather plays it’s part.”

The match starts at 1.30pm and will be televised on SS2.

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Above: Jon Jon Smuts of the Warriors (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)