Ed Hawkins previews the contest from Buffalo Park on Saturday as the Momentum One-Day Cup heads for the semis
"Man of the match was Thando Ntini with four for 36. At 19, he is a rising star and has the pedigree too - Makhaya is his dad"
Warriors v Cape Cobras
Saturday 14 March 11.30
TV: live on Betfair Video
Warriors well placed
Warriors are third in the standings (a top-four finish required) with the semi-finals scheduled for next week. They have an even money record and victory in this one should book their spot in the knockouts.
They appear to have clicked just in the nick of time. Successive wins against the Dolphins and Titans, the holders, have boosted confidence, defending 293 and chasing 331 respectively. The latter was impressive and timely considering
Titans are also alive in the race. Edward Moore was the hero, smashing a century. Opening partner Matt Breetzke also notched a fifty, his second in a row.
Left-armer pacer Stefan Tait has been potent (12 wickets so far) while Sisanda Magala's presence will be an assurance to those who know the Mzansi Super League.
Probable XI Moore, Breetzke, Ngoepe, Vallie, Marais, Nyaku, De Klerk, Gqamane, Magala, Birch, Tait
Cobras have no bite
Cape Cobras's Twitter bio tells us: the Cobras will summon the champion mentality and take charge on or off the field. Well, it's definitely not been the former. They are bottom with two wins from nine and are done.
Two of those wins came in their first three so their fall from grace has been spectacular. Four losses have been when defending a target, suggesting a bowling line-up without solid plans.
They've also suffered big player churn. So far they have used 22 players and they are without South Africa contingent George Linde, Jannie Malan and Kyle Verreynne.
Probable XI P Malan, Walbrugh, Hamza, Bird, Smith, Mgijima, Moshle, Piedt, Williams, Mnyaka, T Ntini
Wicket looks flat
The previous five first-innings scores in this tournament and across three editions (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 293-2/121-2/309-1/324-1/319-1. Runmakers are to the fore, albeit a short study sample. It's been pretty flat in ODI, too as Bangladesh found out to their cost in 2017 when they went round the park for 369.
Warriors have six appeal
The match odds are skewed as one would expect - Warriors are hot favourites at 8/131.61 with the Cobras trading at 5/42.30. It is arguable, given their record, that the price on the Cobras is not big enough. Still, we're not really in the business of wibbling on about 8/131.60 shots being value.
Closer to the toss we might hope for a bit more in the Cobras price. At the very start of the campaign, Cobras won this head-to-head. And comfortably, too. They defended 274 to win by 31 runs. Linde was key but the man of the match was Thando Ntini with four for 36. At 19, he is a rising star and has the pedigree too - Makhaya is his dad.
It might not be unreasonable to reckon you can trade a profit on Cobras if they bat first and use the flat track to their advantage. They are reliant on Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza up front.
One area of expected dominance for Warriors is in the sixes market. Warriors have hit 45 this term to Cobras' 26. And Linde was responsible for seven of the latter number. Sportsbook make Warriors an even-money chance to come out on top.
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Ntini and Tait underratedh2>
Warriors batting is strong with Breetzke, Moore, Ngoepe and Vallie all enjoying good seasons. Moore and Ngoepe stand out because they are averaging in the 50s, the other two in the 30s. Moore is 12/5 with Sportsbook and Ngoepe 4/1 for top Warriors bat.
Hamza has been most dominant for the Cobras with 534 runs to Malan's 315. That puts Hamza second on the overall run lists. Sportsbook rate him at 11/4 joint favourite with Malan.
Ntini is 7/2 for top Cobras bowler. With a strike rate of 29.3 - the best of any teammate who has played more than four matches this term - it is possible he has been underrated. Likewise Tait who is a whopper at 5s considering a far and away superior strike rate of 29.2.
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