We must build partnerships – Ontong
As defending champions of the domestic limited overs competition, one fortuitous win from three games is not the ideal way for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras to start the defence of their title.
Cobras captain, Justin Ontong, told supersport.com from their Sahara Park Newlands training session on Wednesday, "we are feeling good, we have had very good preparation this week."
"A couple of games did not go our way and we have identified some areas that we need to work on and have concentrated hard on those areas," said Ontong.
Ontong said they needed to work on their energy and intensity in the field. "We also need to work on our death bowling, it has not been up to scratch or the standard we set ourselves," added Ontong.
Ontong stressed that "we need to strike early with the new ball and make it count. Our batting has also let us down as we have not put partnerships together."
Cobras head coach, Paul Adams, echoed the sentiments of his captain. "Our guys need to take more responsibility with the bat, we have lost wickets regularly between overs 26 and 40, which means we have no momentum at the back-end of the innings."
Ontong added, "Andrew (Puttick) has been in some good form lately but we need to take responsibility as senior players and put our hands up as there are some crucial games coming up and get that winning momentum going again."
Puttick has notched up 167 runs at an average of 55.66 in three innings this season. Next for the Cobras on the batting list is top-order batsman, Stiaan van Zyl with 89 runs. The Cobras top and middle order really need to get into gear if the Cape side are to mount a serious challenge this season.
"Richard (Levi) has been looking sharp, it is just a pity that he has only been getting out in the 20s and 30s. He's trying to get himself in, in the first five or six overs and build an innings. He is working hard on his game and it won't be long before we see the matchwinner that he is," added Adams.
One of their stalwarts from the last campaign, Rory Kleinveldt, is not available due to his call-up to the Proteas test squad, which is currently battling with Australia for the No 1 test ranking Down Under.
What the Cobras do miss from Kleinveldt down the order are his valuable runs and cool head along with his tenacity to take wickets up front with the new ball. "We are very happy for Rory. When, as a team, you do well, then it is inevitable that a seasoned campaigner like Rory will get called up," said Ontong.
"It does give our youngsters an opportunity. Beuran (Hendricks) is a special player. He brings a different dimension to our attack as he is left handed and he has bowled some good spells and taken wickets. He has leaked runs but we are working with him and he will get stronger as the tournament goes along," added Ontong.
Ontong went on to say that seasoned veterans (Charl) Langeveldt and (Johann) Louw are working with the Hendricks and Lizaad Williams.
The Cobras face off with the Chevrolet Warriors at Buffalo Park in East London on Friday and then host the Chevrolet Knights in Paarl on Sunday.