Border’s Marais a key player for Lions clash

There could be one or two more selection surprises when the Warriors square off against the Highveld Lions in their Momentum One-Day Cup clash at Buffalo Park in East London today.

IN GOOD FORM: Marco Marais of the Warriors who featured strongly with the bat when the franchise defeated the Knights in their One-Day Cup match in Kimberley on Tuesday Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Warriors caretaker coach Rivash Gobind’s modus operandi is to not only reward form, but to also pick players he thinks will be able to perform under certain conditions.

He went out on a limb in Tuesday night’s game against the Knights in Kimberley and promoted in-form batsmen Marco Marais of Border and Eastern Province’s Clyde Fortuin.

Both featured strongly with the bat in the Warriors’ crushing 60-run win.

“I am a big believer in picking guys for conditions and horses for courses,” said Gobind yesterday.

“Being in East London, there are a few guys from Border who we have in our squad who know the ground and the conditions really well.”

The Warriors players will do well not to become too comfortable with their positions in the starting lineup. As we have seen, Gobind is not afraid to mix things up in trying to catch the opposition unawares.

“I’m trying to keep it fresh and interesting. The way we play and the way we set up as a squad, we have got to be tactically ahead of the other teams and throw them a curve ball every now and then,” Gobind said.

“We have a good core of senior guys with some good ideas and we try and tap into all of that. Sometimes it’s a bit left field like in Marco’s case. But they [the Knights] didn’t really expect him to play but on his third ball he hit Marchant [De Lange] out of the ground. That’s a great statement for the guy to make and I’m really excited about his demeanour and calmness and I think he is going to add tremendous value to the franchise going forward.”

Another player who could come into the reckoning today is allrounder Jerry Nqolo, who knows Buffalo Park intimately.

After tonight, the Warriors play another fixture in East London against the Titans on Sunday and Nqolo’s backyard expertise would come in handy.

The Warriors now have two wins from their five games, which is enough to have them placed in the play-off positions at the moment with five round-robin matches to go.

Gobind was thrilled with the manner in which the Warriors disposed of the Knights’ threat as a unit. He also spoke of how opener Gihahn Cloete backed his 82 in the previous game with 143 against the Knights.

“It was a good effort from the boys. We just need to get another win so we get a bit of momentum and it’s good that we’ve got games coming quickly now because that also helps.

“We had some simple plans, which we actually pulled off very well. We held our nerve very well at crucial moments which was very good to see. Everyone who bowled took a wicket and I must say that [Sisanda] Magala and Aya [Gqamane] this season so far have been really good.

“Obviously, there is room for improvement but I’m very happy with them.”

Gobind said his team would be chasing another fast start against the Lions today after beating them in the first round of the competition.