Yorkshire hit by injury concerns
Yorkshire are no strangers to inclement weather. They lost more overs to rain than any other county side last season, and seemed to have brought the rain with them to Cape Town when their crucial game against Mumbai Indians was washed out on Thursday night. To add to their woes, both Ryan Sidebottom and Moin Ashraf suffered potential injuries during the game, but coach Jason Gillespie insisted his side still had their sights on a semi-final spot with two games left to play.
Sidebottom limped off the field after his second over, though he eventually returned and bowled a third before the rain came down, while Ashraf lasted all of three balls before he appeared to hurt his hamstring early on in proceedings. Adam Lyth, who had never bowled for Yorkshire in a Twenty20 match before, was forced to complete Ashraf's over with his offspin.
"I'll have to speak to Scott McAllister our physio, but at this stage we're just going to monitor the progress of both of them," Gillespie said of Sidebottom and Ashraf. "Ryan came back out to bowl, so we're quietly confident that he'll be ok. He'll probably be a little bit stiff and sore, but he should be ok.
"Early signs at the moment, it looks like Moin's tweaked his hamstring. But we'll just let it settle down in the next 24 hours, and then Scott can have a really good look at it, and then make a decision from there."
Yorkshire are fortunate in that they have a somewhat bowler-heavy squad, with Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Iain Wardlaw in reserve, but they will need to be at their best in a must-win game against Highveld Lions - still buzzing from their victories over Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings - at home in Johannesburg.
"You obviously need to cover all your bases with illness, injury and things like that," Gillespie said. "They'll be on their home patch, the Lions, and they're a very good side, there's no question of that. We believe if we can play the T20 cricket that we know we can, that we're in with a good shot, no question.
"As we've said all along, we have nothing to lose. We're not here to make up the numbers, we're here to compete and we're here to win games of cricket, and that's certainly the attitude we'll take into the next game."
Gillespie has had a successful first season as Yorkshire's coach, masterminding their promotion back to Division One of the County Championship and their trip to the Champions League. Indeed, he is revelling in the opportunity to lead his charges on a South African jaunt that few in the squad would have expected at the beginning of the English summer.
"Andrew Gale just mentioned that at the start of the season, in pre-season when we were in Barbados, who would've thought that we'd be in Cape Town playing against the Mumbai Indians in the Champions League," Gillespie said. "Sometimes we pinch ourselves I suppose. It's just been a wonderful journey.
"It must be said, these lads have worked incredibly hard, and they deserve this. The opportunity to play against some of the greats of not just now, but of all time, is pretty special and something that I'm sure these guys will remember for the rest of their lives."
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town