The Cobras had a long team meeting two days before their Sunfoil Series clash against the Chevrolet Warriors (starting at the Newlands cricket ground on Thursday). They have reset their targets to win their three remaining four-day matches.
Yet, in order to do that, they will have to establish their foundations in a different manner.
In the past few four-day matches, there has been too much urgency, scrambling and a lack of occupying the crease for substantial periods.
The inability by the top-order to bat for full sessions, have hurt the Cobras’ cause.
Paul Adams, the Cobras coach, admitted that the team seems to be batting in a rush, and that a mental switch (from one-day-mould to the four-day format) is necessary.
“We have only produced six partnerships of 100 or more this season. We have our overall goals, but we need to implement the nuts and the bolts in attempting to get there,” he said in reference to the Cobras’ aim of winning their three remaining matches.
A more disciplined approach in the foundational phase of the game, a better balance between attacking flair and defensive work and the ability to build a first-class innings, will be the batting ingredients required in the first innings.
Richard Levi and Omphile Ramela both need to reassert themselves in emphatic fashion.
Levi has scored 387 at an average of 29.76 and has not done his ability justice in the past three games.
Ramela has struck 379 runs at an average of 29.15, with only one half-century. He was a force in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, but, generally, has not been on song in the Sunfoil Series.
Andrew Puttick was a perfect foil for Levi in an excellent Ram Slam T20 Challenge for both openers, and the left-hander was sensational in the Momentum One Day Cup tournament.
He smashed two consecutive Sunfoil Series centuries against the Chevrolet Knights, but was disappointing in the past two games.
The return of Justin Ontong, Justin Kemp and Robin Peterson will bolster the Cobras for the four-day match against the Warriors at Newlands.
Peterson has replaced the national offspinner Dane Piedt, who has taken two wickets in four games while on the mend following a potentially career-threatening shoulder injury.
The team is strong enough to overwhelm the Warriors, but paper tigers don’t necessarily tear their enemies apart. It’s the real ones that do the damage.
Adams said application will be a vital ingredient if the hosts are to establish a massive first-innings score.
If they do, the Cobras won’t easily be denied the victory spoils.
The Cobras squad for the match against the Warriors is: Justin Ontong (capt), Stiaan van Zyl, Omphile Ramela, Andrew Puttick, Dane Vilas, Justin Kemp, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dane Paterson, Beuran Hendricks, Keegan Petersen.