The battle for semifinal places in the T20 Challenge series is getting hot, and all teams know they have to make a move, starting Wednesday.
The Cobras, on an unbeaten roll with three wins and a washout, are in second place with 14 points, just two ahead of the Knights, who they meet in Kimberley, while the Dolphins, desperate for action after four wash-outs, take on the Lions at Kingsmead.
Both are on 12 points; but the Dolphins have just one win in the locker. The Lions have had two washouts to go alongside their two wins. The bad news is that it looks like more rain in Durban. The Warriors bring up the rear with 10 points after eight games, yet they too, could theoretically make the semifinals, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week.
The Cobras will be particularly anxious to maintain their momentum after a slow start to the Ram Slam season.
They have produced some strong bowling performances, led by the veteran Rory Kleinveldt. In 15 overs, he has taken six wickets and conceded just 96 runs. That sort of pressure opens the way for support bowlers; as they did in a tight match against the Warriors in their last win, when the Cobras defended 159.
Coach Ashwell Prince acknowledges that destiny is in their hands.
‘That’s the most important thing,’ he said. ‘When you’re trying to qualify for a something, you want things to be in your own hands and you don’t want to be depending on favours from other people.
‘We’ve got three games to go and if we win two out of the three we should secure a semi-final, if not a home semi-final. But we know it’s one step at a time. We’re expecting a tough game in Kimberley.’
He will no doubt have one eye on the following match: against the seemingly unstoppable Titans at Newlands on Friday.
The Knights are also looking for momentum. They haven’t won since round four, and endured two losses and a washout. One of those losses was to the Cobras in Cape Town.
”It’s going to be a massively important week,’ said coach Nicky Boje. ‘I think we’re still a work in progress, we’re getting quite a lot of stuff right, but we’re also doing a few things wrong. So we just need to make sure we put a complete performance together.’
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