After the battle between the top two IPL teams in the competition, it is the old feisty South Africa v Australia battle in the second semi final.
Keep it simple was the message from both captains on Friday ahead of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) semi-final between the Warriors and the South Australian Redbacks at Centurion on Saturday.
Warriors captain Davy Jacobs said his team would be focusing on their own game plans, which had taken them to victory in the Standard Bank Pro20 and had helped them to victory in three of their four pool matches in the CLT20.
He acknowledged that this was probably the biggest game the Warriors had ever played, but said this would not change their approach.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing – the preparations remain the same,” he said.
“We have our game plans and things we want to do every game. It doesn’t matter who we play, in what competition, it’s always the same. We keep it simple and take it one ball at a time.”
He said the first six overs in Twenty20 (T20) cricket were of vital importance, with both bat and ball.
“If you can strike early, you can put a team under pressure, and it’s the same with the bat, if you get a good start, you get them under pressure so that will definitely be important.”
Jacobs said that reaching the semi-final of the CLT20 was massive for the Warriors.
“The last two years we’ve been very successful,” he said. “We won our first two trophies last year, but before that it was very, very tough. To do it at this stage and reach the semi-final will show what the Eastern Cape’s about. We’re a very proud franchise.
“Two years ago, our coach (Russell Domingo) had a vision of us being the best franchise in the world in all departments in three or four years, so if we can do it a little earlier, that will be fantastic.”
Jacobs said that although the crowd support in Port Elizabeth had been superb, playing at Centurion could also be seen as a home game.
“We’re the only South African team left in the competition, and I think the majority of the crowd will be behind us.
“We’ve played at Centurion a lot, and we know the conditions here well. It’s a very good ground for T20 cricket, and I think it will be a very exciting game.”
Redbacks captain Michael Klinger said the South Australians were used to having most of the crowd against them in the CLT20.
“We played two matches against IPL teams, and they had a lot of Indian support and we also played the Highveld Lions, where most of the crowd were against us. To be honest, I think that having the crowd supporting the other team just drives us on,” he said.
Klinger said that after winning all four of their pool matches, the Redbacks were super confident ahead of the semi-final.
“I’ve been a part of this squad for the last few years, and I can definitely feel that everyone is on a real high. We’re looking forward to playing some pressure cricket in the semi-final and we can’t wait for tomorrow. We believe that if we bring our A game to the match, we’ll come out on top.”
However, he said they did not underestimate the strength of the Warriors.
“The Warriors are a super team,” he said. “Probably both our sides are very disciplined and very passionate cricket sides, and we’re expecting a huge contest.
“They’ve got more players with international experience than we have, so we’re expecting a really tough game tomorrow.”
He said the Warriors had some really good key players.
“They’ve got Davy Jacobs, who’s been doing well up front, Mark Boucher is a fighter, and they have two very good spinners. Their opening bowler (Rusty) Theron also seems to do very well in the closing overs, so they are very tough work for us tomorrow. But as we’ve done all tournament, we’re going to be concentrating on ourselves – trusting ourselves, trust each other’s game plans, and we’re pretty confident that if we do that well, we’ll come out on top. We will keep it simple and focus on the ball.
“I think tomorrow, the winner will be the team that can perform best under pressure.”
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