Experience and youth key - Adams
The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras head into their final Momentum One Day Cup match against the Nashua Titans at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday with the knowledge that they have secured a play-off position.
But what they will be heading out to do is either secure second position, which will ensure that they host the qualifying match, or top spot (should the bizhub Highveld Lions lose against the Chevrolet Knights), thereby qualifying automatically for the final, at Sahara Park Newlands on 14 December.
Just a few weeks ago, the men from Cape Town were struggling, with just one fortuitous win from four matches and qualification for the play-off's seeming a far off dream. Since their defeat to the Chevrolet Warriors at Buffalo Park in East London mid-November, the Western Cape franchise have won four matches on the trot, with a 'no-result' against the Knights last Sunday.
The turn around in form can be attributed to two factors, according to head coach, Paul Adams. "There is a lot of youth and experience in our squad and we had to make that work, which was a key thing for us," Adams told supersport.com on Monday.
"We struggled to get batting partnerships going early on, we spoke nice and hard about it as a team, how we were going to go about correcting this, what each person needed to do and then putting all those things in place," Adams said.
The Cobras made heavy weather of beating the Sunfoil Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg in their first match, as they needed some fireworks from their bowling department to get them over the line. The 'old man' of the team, Charl Langeveldt, combined with the young spinner, Dane Piedt, to score the winnings runs with eight balls remaining.
Then three successive defeats followed, to the Titans in Benoni, the table-topping Lions in Cape Town and finally to the Warriors in East London.
"At that stage we were upset and had to be honest with ourselves on how we were going to play to turns things around. We clearly had to focus on many areas of our game and improve with each match," confessed Adams.
Should the Cobras overcome the Titans in Paarl on Wednesday, coupled with a Lions defeat to the Knights in Kimberley, then the Newlands based side will gain top spot and an automatic home final, thereby avoiding having to play a qualifying match on 9 December.
"One of our key aspects has been to take each game as it comes and just being focused 'in the moment'. We are not going to focus on the final, just yet, we just want to keep things simple, keep focused and keep our heads down," stated Adams.
One of the star performers with the ball this season has been Justin Kemp. The former Proteas allrounder has been extremely economical this season, conceding only 3.65 runs per over, with a best bowling performance of 4-20 against the Knights in Paarl.
But Kemp missed out on the game against the Warriors at Newlands last Friday and the washed-out match against the Knights in Bloemfontein last Sunday, due to injury.
"We will assess him (Kemp) over the next day or so and before the match as he has had some rest over the weekend. We know how important he is to us for the upcoming games, but his recovery is coming along nicely," said Adams of his experienced allrounder.
The match at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday starts at 15:00.
NASHUA MOBILE CAPE COBRAS: Justin Ontong (capt), Richard Levi, Andrew Puttick, Stiaan van Zyl, Mohammad Vallie, Justin Kemp, Dane Villas, Alastair Gray, Johann Louw, Lizaad Williams, Charl Langeveldt.
NASHUA TITANS: Martin van Jaarsveld (capt), Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids, Mangaliso Mosehle, Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Eden Links, JP de Villiers, Rowan Richards, Shaun von Berg, CJ de Villiers.