CAPE TOWN – Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince is hoping for “greater intent” from his batsmen in Friday’s T20 Challenge clash against the Warriors at Boland Park (6pm start).
The Cobras have played two matches in the T20 Challenge, getting over the line against the Highveld Lions before falling short against the Titans.
The batting unit has not fired on all cylinders, scoring 169/8 and 150/5 in the two matches.
“With the matches being so late in the season, we have seen it is a bit easier to bat second, especially at night as the ball comes on to (the) bat a lot better due to the greasy wicket, and also the bowlers struggle with the dew factor,” Prince said.
“But saying that, we also have to be better. We certainly need to show greater intent in the powerplay.
“We haven’t started well thus far, which means we always recovering.
“We have guys like Vernon (Philander), George (Linde) and Rory (Kleinveldt) that can hit the ball over the boundary, they have just been coming in under pressure all the time.”
The powerplay – the first six overs of the innings when only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle – usually sets the tone of the innings.
The Cobras were productive at the Wanderers when they posted 52/2 during that period, but fell away at Willowmoore Park, when they managed just 38/2.
Previously the Cobras were heavily reliant on Richard Levi to build the momentum upfront, with the burly opener often winning matches on his own.
However, he became less consistent over the past couple of seasons, forcing the Cobras to look elsewhere for some power at the top of the order.
That brought Janneman Malan to the Cape last winter and the 22-year-old has already repaid the faith shown in him with a solid season across all formats.
He was particularly explosive in the Mzansi Super League for Cape Town Blitz, which earned him a T20 international debut against Pakistan during the home international summer.
The opposition, though, seem to have worked on a plan to curb Malan’s attacking instincts by utilising spin in the powerplay, after the Pakistanis exposed a few technical deficiencies.
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He will need to quickly find his mojo again, particularly with his opening partner Hashim Amla slowly making his way back to competitive cricket after a month on the sidelines.
Amla showed glimpses of his old self at the Wanderers before chopping a delivery too close to his body on to the stumps, before receiving a really good ball in Benoni.
Prince believes everyone just needs to be a bit more patient with the Proteas veteran.
“It is only two games. Let’s all just give some more time. Maybe after five matches, we can make a proper assessment. He just needs time in the middle,” he said.
“He is working as hard ever. He is training as hard as ever. And he is as hungry as ever. So, let’s all just hang on for a bit and wait to see after five games.”@ZaahierAdams