Warriors, Eagles aim to bounce back

In pursuit of log leaders the Titans, the Warriors and the Diamond Eagles will both be looking to hit back after less than convincing performances when they clash in East London in the SuperSport Series competition, starting on Thursday.

Defending champions Titans, have jumped ahead of the rest after thrashing the Warriors inside three days in Port Elizabeth last weekend and they have the luxury of a break this weekend as they watch the rest scrambling to make up the leeway.

Besides the East London match, the Dolphins will host the Cape Cobras in Durban, with both sides also desperately seeking a win as they prop up the bottom of the log.

In their respective matches last weekend, the batting of both the Warriors and the Diamond Eagles was found wanting and coaches Russell Domingo (Warriors) and Sarel Cilliers will be calling for a much bigger effort in that department this weekend.

The Diamond Eagles, at least, showed some fight in the second innings against the Dolphins to salvage a draw after conceding a huge first innings lead, with Dean Elgar continuing his excellent form by hitting his third SuperSport century of the season.

The Warriors were woeful in both innings against the Titans and senior players like captain Davy Jacobs, Ashwell Prince and Arno Jacobs will have big roles to play to help them come back in a positive manner.

Both sides will recall that the last SuperSport match played in East London saw Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook hit a South African first-class record of 390, a fact the bowlers might view with some trepidation.

Hopefully the lessons have been learnt from that game and the pitch will be of such a nature as to offer a fairer contest between bat and ball.

Although held to a draw, the Dolphins will be buoyed by their performance against the Diamond Eagles and even the loss of Hashim Amla to the national one-day squad shouldn’t affect them too much.

Quinton Friend is also out, due to personal reasons, but the Dolphins welcome back Loots Bosman, Yusuf Abdulla and Pierre de Bruyn.

Bosman and Abdulla were part of the SA team which slaughtered England in the second Twenty20 clash on Sunday and their spirits will be high for this clash, even if the format represents a complete U-turn to the instant game.

Bosman, in particular, will be on a high after being named man of the two-match series.

“It was disappointing not to get the hundred [he hit 94 in the second match] as I would have been the first to have scored a hundred for South Africa in T20 matches, especially after returning to the team after a while,” said Bosman.

“That’s in the past now. I am now looking forward to playing for the Dolphins and hopefully we can get our first win.”

Bosman is nursing a foot injury but should be fine by Thursday.

“I have some bruising but am getting treatment and icing the foot. I should be fine by Thursday,” he added.

Like the Dolphins, the Cobras are also seeking their first win of the season and coach Shukri Conrad knows that if it doesn’t come soon, they’ll be among the also-rans in the competition.

Although the programme is still approaching the halfway stage, and they have a game in hand, it’s becoming almost a must-win situation for the Cape side and that could make them a dangerous outfit.—Sapa

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