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Warriors aim to make impact

The Warriors will have a last roll of the dice when they attempt to improve upon their previous performances in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series competition which gets under way tomorrow.

The Warriors will have a last roll of the dice when they attempt to improve upon their previous performances in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series competition which gets under way tomorrow.

Given their record this summer, it would be a surprise if the Eastern Cape franchise were able to even match their past efforts in the competition in which they have twice reached the final, ending runners-up each time.

They did not win a match in their first five Supersport Series games and won only three of their 10 Standard Bank Cup fixtures.

Two of those Cup victories came against bottom-placed Cape Cobras, who had nightmarish limited overs campaign, while the third, ironically, was achieved against the eventual champions, Free State, in their own backyard.

The Pro20 Series, however, has a knack of producing the unexpected and the nature of the competition does tend to level the playing fields to a degree.

Matches of 20 overs a side can fluctuate enormously in a short space of time and they call for a completely different approach to the longer versions of the game.

One or two good bowling spells can alter the course of a 20-overs match, much more significantly than the 50-overs games, while batsmen are required to score much quicker – a rate of better than a run a ball is required – albeit for a much shorter time.

There’s no time to build an innings and attacking knocks of 30 or 40 in double-quick time are almost enough to put you in a strong position.

The Warriors are reasonably well equipped in this department to put opposing sides under pressure.

They produced several good batting displays in the Standard Bank Cup, peaking when they scored over 260 to defeat Free State Eagles in their clash in Bloemfontein.

And twice they reached totals of 246 at Sahara Oval St George’s, but the significant factor is that they lost both those games.

This indicates that their bowling is not up to scratch and unless there’s a dramatic improvement, it’s going to be another vulnerable area in the Pro20 Series.

Bowlers, generally, are on a hiding to nothing as the batsmen blast away from the outset in 20-overs contests and if the opposition believe the Warriors attack can be exploited, then things could get ugly.

It would be a good option for coach Russell Domingo to explore the option of using spinners more extensively than is often the case.

It was a tactic the Warriors used to great effect last season, helping them reach the final when the spun out the Eagles in a relatively low-scoring semi-final at St George’s.

But this time they will be without the experience and skill of retired skipper Pieter Strydom and Johan Botha, in Australia with the national team.

Nevertheless, employing spinners who are adept at changing their pace would be a strategy well worth pursuing. Batsmen having to make their own pace are often forced into errors and, unlike the 50-over matches where you can milk the spinners for singles and the occasional boundary, the Pro20 calls for a far more direct approach.

One bowler in South Africa who has been most impressive in this regard is young Free State offspinner Thandi Tshabalala.

He underlined his talents in the Standard Bank Cup final against the Titans at the weekend and is a bowler the Warriors will have to handle with some care in their clash at St George’s next Wednesday.

That will be the Warriors’ first home game. They start with two away fixtures this weekend, against the Highveld Lions in Johannesburg on Friday and the Titans in Benoni on Sunday.

The first match in the Pro20 Series will be played tomorrow when defending champions the Titans take on KwaZulu Natal Dolphins in Durban. Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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