’It’s how we like to play the game,’ says skipper Sinethemba Qeshile after Warriors impress
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Johannesburg – The Eastern Province Warriors continue to be the trendsetters domestically in the shortest format as evidenced by them scoring the two highest totals in the Pool stages of the Cricket SA Provincial T20 Knock Out competition.
It has been the way for the Warriors when batting – attack the power play and then keep attacking. Wickets be damned. “It’s how we like to play the game, hopefully other teams will want to do the same,” the team’s skipper Sinethemba Qeshile said after Eastern Province had qualified for the play-offs.
The Warriors scored 243 against Limpopo and 228 against Border. In that match against their provincial neighbours, the two teams shared an aggregate of 435 runs, the fourth highest match aggregate for a T20 game in South Africa, indicating that the Iinyathi, if pushed to do so, could adopt that aggression if pushed to do so.
It helped the Warriors that their opener Matthew Breetzke was in blazing form in the Pool D fixtures held in Kimberley. His 190 runs there came at a strike rate (the average number of runs scored per 100 balls faced) of 163.79. However the Warriors aren’t reliant on Breetzke solely; Wihan Lubbe and JJ Smuts, who scored over 100 runs in Kimberley did so with strike rates over 160, and while they didn’t have aggregates above 100 runs, Lesiba Ngoepe, Tristan Stubbs and Diego Rosier all topped the 160-mark in the strike rate category.
It’s critical for South African cricket that players embrace that method for it is the way that the T20 format has been trending for the last five years. South Africa’s approach generally has often been too conservative and remains that way.
The formulaic method with the bat makes teams too easy to strategise against. It’s why watching the SA Under-19 team was so encouraging. They’ve embraced that aggressive attitude with the bat. It brought some reward in their match against the Eastern Storm in Bloemfontein, although not a win, and it led to their downfall in the remaining two Pool C matches against the KwaZulu-Natal and North West. However it is best to have that as a base to work off than being conservative.
As they mature, and build towards next year’s Under-19 World Cup - a 50 over event - the kids will learn to balance that attacking style better, while the exposure against senior professionals, will further their own development as well.
The competition, which acted as an introduction to the new provincial domestic structure, showed there was plenty of raw talent around the country although tactically some of the decision-making left a lot to be desired. The standard of fielding is also worryingly poor, with far too many catches dropped, while basic ground fielding lacked accuracy and sharpness. That may be due to the tournament being the first of the season, but it is worth keeping an eye on when the play-offs take place in Kimberley next week, to see how much work the teams have put into that department.
The gap between Division One and Two teams was for the most part clear - notwithstanding South Western Districts qualification from Pool A. They are the only Division Two side to make it into the play-offs, thanks to some very good bowling and Yaseen Valli’s steadiness at the top of the order - while the Gauteng Lions, the Division One side that missed out, looked rusty.
T20 Provincial Knock Out play-off Fixtures:
Oct 19: Six Gun Grill South Western Districts vs Multiply Titans; ITEC Knights vs Six Gun Grill Western Province
Oct 20: HollywoodBets Dolphins vs Gbet Warriors; North West Dragons vs Gbet Rocks