Border sweat over hot hitter
The Border cricket team were in a worrying position on Wednesday after the availability of their star batsman was left up in the air and their first training session of the week was affected by the province-wide taxi strike.
Border’s explosive record-breaking opening batsman Marco Marais faces a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of the finals weekend of the Africa Cup T20 competition taking place this coming Sunday and Monday at Buffalo Park.
Marais, who smashed 295 runs in four innings over the weekend, including two unbeaten back-to-back centuries (103 v Namibia and 106 v Mpumalanga) and an unbeaten 75 against Kenya, felt a twinge in his hamstring during the second match of the weekend, but continued to play, and the problem worsened in the fourth match, with him limping off the field.
It was originally thought that the problem was not too troublesome and that it was just a strain, but it is now looking like it may be a bit worse.
“It is going to be touch and go. It is worrying for us. I spoke to the physio and it is going to be very tight,” said Border coach Frank Plaatjes.
“If the games were tomorrow I would not play him as it could become worse, but I am going to give him as much time as possible to get fit, and I will make the call on Saturday morning.”
After Border triumphed in pool C over the past weekend, their first training session was supposed to be held on Wednesday, but due to the taxi strike a lot of the team from Alice was unable to make it into town.
“I gave them off until Wednesday. It was a massive effort from the guys to get through the pool, especially after the poor start, losing the first game, so I thought they deserved some time off,” said Plaatjes.
“They played four games over three days, which puts a toll on the body, so they needed a break, and it is better to have them back fresh and ready.”
The team will now hope to have a few good sessions from Thursday, with a final field and nets session set for Saturday morning before the semifinals get under way on Sunday.
There are a few things that the team will be looking to work on.
“We want to work on our bowling plans,” said Plaatjes.
“The first two games wasn’t good. We didn’t execute our plans well and it showed, but the second two games were much better, so that is what I am looking for from the guys in the knockouts.”
Border will take on Easterns at 1.30pm in the second semi on Sunday afternoon, while Gauteng and North West will battle out the first semi from 9.30am.
The final between the semifinal winners will take place on Heritage Day (Monday) morning from 10am.