Matthew Breetzke: Warriors primed for Kingsmead pressure in CSA T20 Challenge semi-final

Warriors captain Matthew Breetzke said they are relishing being the underdogs away from home against a Dolphins side that has an abundance of experience. Photo: BackpagePix

Warriors captain Matthew Breetzke said they are relishing being the underdogs away from home against a Dolphins side that has an abundance of experience. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 25, 2024


FOR many years, the Warriors have been known to be a stubborn team who not only consistently hold their own against the top domestic teams in the country, but feed the top sides with talent.

And that is despite having less than half of the resources these top teams have at their disposal.

And for the past few years, the Warriors have fielded the youngest teams on the circuit.

However, these youngsters have gained invaluable experience, including playing in the final of the SA20 multiple times, a tournament regarded as one of the biggest on the T20 circuit.

As a matter of fact, 22-year-old Jordan Hermann has already won two SA20 championship medals with the Sunrisers Eastern Cape.

Bowling all-rounder Beyers Swanepoel also has two medals, while Patrick Kruger has one, as he played a key role in the Sunrisers’ successful defence of their SA20 title earlier this year.

In addition, Warriors captain Matthew Breetzke has two SA20 seasons under his belt, and played in a final with Durban’s Super Giants earlier this year.

The 25-year-old Breetzke reckons this experience will carry his Warriors side through the pressures of tonight’s CSA T20 Challenge semi-final against the Dolphins at Kingsmead (6pm start).

“If you look at our team and the amount of experience that we have as a young side, I think we’ve been so well prepared,” he said.

“(The SA20 experience) should help, I would think it would help.

“The magnitude of the SA20 final, a couple of us did play in that, it was a big arena.

“And I think that will surely help us when we come into the semi-final and hopefully the final, in getting over those crunch moments and (to) be relaxed in the situation. Hopefully it helps.”

Despite being among the top teams on the log, flashes of inexperience from the Warriors have been evident in certain stages of the campaign.

They went from winning the first eight fixtures, where they topped the standings for the majority of the tournament, to failing to secure a home semi-final after four consecutive losses at the back end of the round robin stage.

Breetzke told the media yesterday that the side have taken note of their complacency, and have plotted a plan to do better in tonight’s play-off at Kingsmead.

“I hope we have resolved them (issues of complacency). We have looked at a few things, including losing many wickets in the powerplay,” he said.

“Naturally, it happens when you qualify so early in the tournament. As a human, you do get complacent.

“We try to stay away from it, but it’s sometimes hard when you have a young squad and guys want to try different things.

“I’m not too worried about that, to be honest. It’s not like we don’t know where we are … We know exactly where we’re going wrong.

“We’ve chatted about it, and hopefully we can rectify those in a crunch game.”

Most importantly, the youthful nature of this Warriors side means they are filled with the new generation’s fearlessness, taking no regard for the occasion.

Breetzke said the team relish being the underdogs in that they are playing away from home against a side that has an abundance of experience, including Andile Phehlukwayo’s 40 Proteas T20 international caps.

“We don’t mind having our back against the wall. We’re going to be coming out strong,” he continued.

“The nice thing is that we are a really young side. I think that’s what’s holding us in good stead because everyone has played a part.

“There hasn’t been one player who has dominated the tournament, so everyone has a bit of confidence.”