Salieg Nackerdien hopeful Western Province ‘learnt from mistakes’ against Tuskers

Jono Bird will make a welcome return from injury to bolster the Western Province batting line-up against the Tuskers tomorrow. Photo: BackpagePix

Jono Bird will make a welcome return from injury to bolster the Western Province batting line-up against the Tuskers tomorrow. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 26, 2024


Western Province coach Salieg Nackerdien is hoping his team can start using some “common sense” ahead of their CSA T20 Challenge match against the Tuskers at Newlands tomorrow (1pm start).

Province have tied two of their last three matches, with the game against the Lions being lost in a Super Over, when Kwena Maphaka defended just 10 runs.

Worse was to follow against the Titans at the Wanderers last Saturday, when Province were cruising to victory in pursuit of 148.

Openers David Bedingham and Eddie Moore struck half-centuries in a 92-run first-wicket partnership.

However, a middle-order collapse precipitated by David Wiese’s four wickets saw the Titans manage to sneak a tie via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method with one over remaining and Province still needing 10 more runs when the heavens opened at the Wanderers.

“We need to be a lot more clinical in our execution. It was run-a-ball stuff at the Wanderers, and we threw the game away. We should have won by eight wickets, but instead, we tied the game,” Nackerdien said.

“Sometimes just common sense is required out in the middle, and we are lacking that at the moment. We haven’t learnt from our mistakes.”

It certainly has been a frustrating period for Nackerdien as his team have lost all the momentum from earlier in the season, when they won the 1-Day Cup unbeaten before finishing as runners-up in the 4-Day Series too.

Province seemed to put the disappointment of losing the first-class final behind them with three consecutive T20 victories, before the hiccups in their last three games.

Nackerdien, though, hopes the return of Jono Bird will inspire Province. Bird was the form WP batter in the first three T20 matches before suffering a mild groin injury that has ruled him out over the last week.

The attacking left-hander is expected to return to the crucial No 4 position, which will allow Tony de Zorzi to get back to opening the batting.

All-rounder Mihlali Mpongwana will unfortunately not be available for selection just yet as he remains a fitness concern.

“Jono will be ready for Wednesday. I have spoken to the physio and he has done all the work and should be ready to take the field,” Nackerdien said.

“We really missed him in the last couple of games. He was playing really nice before the injury.

“We will wait and see about Mihlali. He returned from New Zealand with a bit of a limp, and is still not comfortable when running.”

Province will also hope a return to the familiar surroundings of Newlands will be a boost after the Tuskers home games were taken away due to an unplayable outfield in Pietermaritzburg.

Nackerdien’s side has already taken a bonus point off the Tuskers in this T20 Challenge campaign, but he is trying to ensure that his team does not suffer from any complacency after the visitors shocked the Lions over the weekend.

“I’ve been telling the guys from the 1-Day Cup not to underestimate the Tuskers. We need to play proper cricket to get the team over the line, especially if we want to remain in the hunt for the semis,” Nackerdien said.