CAPE TOWN – Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince believes his side need to keep their feet firmly on the ground heading into the closing few rounds of the Momentum One-Day Cup season starting with their game against the bizhub Highveld Lions in Paarl on Friday.
The Cape side are in a strong position to finish on top of the log, but need to maintain focus heading into their remaining three games.
They are presently second on 23 points, one behind the top-of-the-table Multiply Titans and two clear of the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, who do have a game in hand.
The top team at the end of 10 rounds will automatically host the semifinal and final should they get there, with the trio looking set to battle it out for that honour.
The Lions, on the other hand, are among three sides seemingly battling it out for the remaining play-off berth with the Warriors and VKB Knights.
The Cobras play the same trio in the remaining rounds, but Prince is cautious ahead of the first of those games at Boland Park.
“It’s the sort of competition where on the day if they get their combinations right they can beat you,” he said. “The Lions can’t be written off.
“We need to make sure we treat them with the respect required and keep our feet on the ground.
“There are a few games remaining now for the playoffs to be decided and hopefully we can finish well to secure that semifinal berth.”
The Cobras are coming off a remarkable win over the Knights in their last game on Wednesday night when captain JP Duminy took 37 off one over on his way to handing Eddie Leie the worst figures – 1/90 – in the competition’s history.
“We had 90 runs to win and I went to him and asked ‘are we going to win with a bonus point?’,” Prince explained. “He was quite clear and said we are.
“He went in and took a couple of overs to obviously settle, but from there he stepped into a different gear and was unstoppable towards the end.
“Hitting 37 off that last over was just unbelievable. You know when JP swings the bat it stays hit, so it was really brilliant to watch.”
Duminy is one of a number of players that have been in form for the Cobras, not least the bowlers, and in particular Dane Paterson, Mthiwekhaya Nabe and George Linde, who have 37 wickets between them.
“We’ve got a lot of players in form,” Prince added. “The two opening bowlers (Paterson and Rory Kleinveldt), I would have to check the stats, but they are probably the best in the competition.
“Then we have some excellent bowlers backing them up like Linde and Nabe and Wayne Parnell, who is injured now.
“In the batting, Pieter Malan has been a revelation. He's got a lot of runs in provincial cricket over the years and has just stepped up so well now at franchise level.
“Temba has provided good support after coming back from the national team and Simon Khomari has stepped up too with 60s in his last two games. And then we have JP, who has been great every time he’s been needed.”
The Lions will enter the game on the back of a heavy loss in the derby. Although they are clinging onto fourth spot, time is running out for them.
After Friday, they must still play the Dolphins in Durban next week, before ending against the Knights.
African News Agency (ANA)