Warriors, Cobras set sights on T20 Challenge final

Ashwell Prince (Gallo Images)
Ashwell Prince (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Warriors coach Rivash Gobind says home advantage in the CSA T20 Challenge play-offs is a bonus as they prepare to face-off with the Cape Cobras in their semi-final in East London on Workers Day on Wednesday.

The Eastern Cape franchise looked likely to miss out on a top two finish at the same time last week but produced a brilliant performance to topple the eventual regular-season winners the Highveld Lions in Johannesburg.

They then fell to the Dolphins in their penultimate game, before another strong showing flattened the Knights.

At the same time, the Cobras lost their last two matches, allowing for the Warriors to finish where they did.

"It is a little bit of a bonus considering all the travelling we had done without having much joy in the competition thus far," Gobind said.

"The semi-final is in East London, so we've been based here from the last game to this one.

"At least we have that base to work from to prepare for the game. It's very pleasing to be in these playoffs especially after the first half of the competition where rain caused havoc. We've played some good cricket from there and look forward to it."

Their opponents the Cobras led the table for most of the term, until that blip towards the end.

But, with JP Duminy now having some game-time under his belt, and veterans like Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander firing, Gobind warned that they were in for a stern test at Buffalo Park.

"It's a knock-out game, JP Duminy is back and so anything can happen," the Warriors boss added.

"Having JP back is a huge bonus for them and he adds to a squad that includes other experienced players like Philander and Kleinveldt who have done well this season.

"It will be tough. We hope the weather plays its part and we get a good game of cricket on Wednesday."

His mention of the weather was a key point for counterpart Ashwell Prince to discuss ahead of the game.

At the same stage last season, the Cobras missed out on a place in the final when their play-off against the Dolphins was rained out, with the Durbanites going on to reach the final on account of ending higher than their Cape opponents on the table.

"It's a bit disappointing not having a home semi but we're still in there, which is what counts," Prince stated. "We're just hoping the weather stays away and we're able to get a full match in.

"Rain has already played a big part in the tournament and last year we were knocked out by the weather in Durban.

"At this point, all we want to do is play. The conditions will be the same for both sides and that's what we want... a good fair contest."

Prince also lamented their inconsistent form since the first part of the season, although his side were only real poor in the last few games.

"I think if we're honest with ourselves, and we've had some discussions about it, I think we've been fairly inconsistent in this competition," he added. "But if we can win two games in a row, we can still win the title.

"That ability we do have in our ranks, but it's not about talking, it's about going out there and doing it.

"We say we can do it, we believe we can do it, but now we must go out there and get the job done. So we're still confident, we know what T20 cricket is like and we know at this point in time we have a chance of doing it."

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