EASTERN Province's batsmen have shown excellent early-season form, but they will be hoping their bowlers reveal similar qualities when they take on Free State in the CSA Provincial three-day cricket competition at Union, starting today.
At the start of the season, coach Chris Esau spoke of the need for the batsmen to sell their wickets more dearly, and, at this stage, they have achieved their objectives.
Three hundreds have been scored, two of them to skipper Colin Ackermann, and they have reached the 400-run mark in both their matches so far.
That has given them a sound platform to launch victory bids, but so far they have managed just two draws. In fairness, though, the second game against Easterns was badly affected by rain, while North West produced a stout second innings effort to deny the EP bowlers in their opening encounter after the Potch side were forced to follow-on.
Nonetheless, EP have been left trailing on the log and although the competition has a long way to go, Esau and Ackermann will know the importance of getting a few wins. They will be calling for an allround team effort against the Free Staters because a good performance this weekend will be just the tonic they need.
With Ackermann's efforts being supplemented by players such as David White, Eddie Moore and James Price, EP certainly have a batting lineup to put the Free Staters under pressure. If they can achieve that, it could provide the opening their bowlers need.
Free State are also in the wrong half of the log, with a loss and a draw from their two matches so far. They will definitely not be prepared to take a back seat and Ackermann's men should be ready for a strong challenge.
The teams will meet in a 50-overs clash at the same venue on Sunday.
The EP team is: Colin Ackermann, David White, Warren Bell, Lee-Roy Walters, Lionel Vaaltyn, Sisanda Magala, Akhona Kula, Solo Nqweni, Simthembiso Ndwandwa, Siviwe Gidana, Kelly Smuts, James Price, Anrich Nortje, Eddie Moore.