Warriors aim to make amends in Port Elizabeth, Newsline

CAPE TOWN – Warriors assistant coach Baakier Abrahams concedes that they were not at their best in the opening round of the 4-Day Domestic Series this past week but is expecting a far better showing when they return home to Port Elizabeth next week.

The Eastern Cape franchise welcome the Momentum Multiply Titans to St George’s Park from Monday as they bid to bounce back from a disappointing opening display against the VKB Knights in Bloemfontein in round one.

The Warriors lost by 179 runs after fine showing by the hosts, but Robin Petersen’s side can be forgiven for not firing on all cylinders after their squad was struck by six key withdrawals on the eve of the game due to Covid-19.

However, that is no excuse for Abrahams.

“The defeat is not something that we expected,” he lamented. “We had a really good preseason where we trained well and put in a lot of work.

“Covid-19 was a bit of a disruption but we had full confidence in all the players in the group Every single player that we put out there, we know they are able to deliver the standards we expect.

“We had that tough first day and fell behind in the game. But we reacted well in moments, we just need to do that for longer periods of time.”

Now back at home, Abrahams believes they have a good chance to make amends despite coming up against a Titans side that won their opening fixture when they edged past the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras at Newlands.

“I think what you’ll find in this competition is that the margins are very small and all teams are evenly matched,” he added. “So it will be an exciting opportunity to match ourselves up against another team.

“The big thing for us is that it’s obviously familiar surroundings, playing at home in our first home game, so we’re really excited to play there.

“I don’t want to look too far down the line, take it day-by-day and just make sure leading up that we prepare really well. We also need to make sure we get into a good mental space to take on the challenge.”

There remains uncertainty over the availability of the six players that had to be withdrawn for the opening match, namely captain Yaseen Vallie, Sinethemba Qeshile, Lesiba Ngoepe, Ayabulela Gqamane, Sinethemba Langa and Glenton Stuurman. The latter was on Friday named in the Proteas squad for their forthcoming limited-over series against England.

Warriors aim to make amends in Port Elizabeth, Newsline
Warriors players celebrating during day 3 of the CSA 4-Day 2020/21 game between the Knights and the Warriors at Mangaung Oval in the Free State on 4 November 2020. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Titans assistant Geoffrey Toyana, meanwhile, believes it will be business as usual for his team as they prepare for the trip to PE.

It will be a second consecutive away game for Mandla Mashimbyi’s side and they are ready for it.

“Every franchise game we play, we prepare the same way,” Toyana stated. “So this one will be no different.

“Their Covid-19 situation and the stories around that has nothing to do with us, honestly.

“We’ll prepare normally we always do, we’re going to prepare for a good Warriors team.

“They’re playing at home where they always play good cricket, so we’re not going to underestimate anyone. It’s another game for us and we’ll be trying to deliver our A game so that we can keep the momentum going.”

Toyana, meanwhile, hailed the way the Titans played in Cape Town where they produced a famous and memorable result.

“We got a lot wrong in terms of our batting in the first innings,” he concluded. “They put us under pressure and if you get 150 in the first innings of a game, you’re always going to be under pressure.

“But the fightback that we produced it showed why the Titans are one of the best teams in franchise cricket.

“From Dean Elgar, who again showed he is one of the best openers in the world, to the rest of the team, the way we came back in the second innings, it was outstanding and is just reward for all the effort that we’ve been putting in. Everyone was superb.”