Positives boost the spirits of Warriors

An encouraging start to this season’s Sunfoil Series competition has Warriors handily placed after two draws in as many games.

UPBEAT MAESTRO: Captain Jon-Jon Smuts is leading from the front as he fires for the Warriors during the Sunfoil Series with superb batting and bowling displays in recent play. Smuts feels the team will be up for the task in a series that will be as tough as they come this season Picture : GALLO IMAGES

In their first home match of the competition, after drawing away to the Lions, the Warriors put in a solid performance led by a superb all-round effort from captain Jon Jon Smuts.

However an early end to proceedings scuppered their chances of picking up a win after they had reduced the Cobras to 131/6 as the visitors chased 252 for victory.

“I was very happy with the way we played, we played four good days of cricket so I am proud of the guys and it was just a pity we couldn’t get the win,” said Smuts.

“I think the weather let us down a bit in the end, but it is very exciting to see all facets of our performance working in terms of our batting bowling and fielding.”

It has been a strange start to this season’s competition with no team having managed to get a win after two games, with six draws battled out so far. This has left the Warriors in fourth place on the log, just 1.9 points off the third-placed Multiply Titans and 2.1 points off the top of the table VKB Knights.

“I think what has happened the last few years in four-day cricket is there haven’t been many draws and with the competition starting earlier than usual this year it has been difficult to get results, especially upcountry as wickets haven’t yet broken up much,” said Smuts.

“But I think it also shows how good the batting has been so far, someone said that 20 centuries have already been scored in six games which is just over three a game so it shows guys have really batted well and when both teams bat well it becomes very hard to get a result.”

Smuts currently sits on top of both the Sunfoil Series batting and bowling logs, having amassed 278 runs and picked up 10 wickets in the two games so far, while Warriors opener Eddie Moore sits third on the batting log with 237 runs.

The solid showing of the team is a further boost as they will be looking forward to the return of star players Colin Ingram, Colin Ackermann and Simon Harmer, who will be arriving back in South Africa in the coming weeks from playing county cricket in England.

“It is exciting to be getting a few of the big guys back from England, they add a lot of value to the team and they are a massive inspiration to the younger guys in the squad,” said Smuts.

“But it is fantastic to see how the team has been playing without them, it is great to have such good competition in the squad at the moment and this only bodes well for the team.”

The Warriors now head into a challenging run of fixtures in the Sunfoil Series where they will be playing the next four games away from home, starting with a big match-up against the Titans in Benoni this coming weekend.

The Titans were the thorn in the Warriors side last season, beating them in the final of both the T20 and one-day competitions, so it will be interesting to see how the sides fare in their first four-day match of the season.

“It would be nice to play more games at home, but the nice thing to remember is that with us having three away games in a row now it means that towards the back end of the season we will be playing most of our cricket at home,” said Smuts.

“So if we can pick up a few wins and play some good cricket it puts us in a really good space.

“Benoni this week coming up is another wicket that could be quite dry and could turn since the Highveld hasn’t had too much rain, so it will be interesting to see what they give us.

“But we will just have to plan accordingly and hopefully we can execute our plan and play some good cricket, we have a good rivalry with the Titans, they are a really good team and the history between the sides speaks for itself, so we should be in for a really good game.”

The Warriors v Titans match gets under way at Willomore Park at 10am on Friday morning.

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