Warriors v Chennai, CLT20 final, Johannesburg

Massive achievement for Warriors - Jacobs

Firdose Moonda in Johannesburg

September 26, 2010

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On the 16th of December 1838, almost 15,000 Zulu warriors set off to battle against less than 500 Voortrekkers. A few hours later, three thousand Zulu were killed, mowed down by a barrage of bullets. Three Voortrekkers were wounded by the blade of a spear. Such was the mismatch of the Battle of Blood River, where the warriors' weapons were never going to be any match for the force of a gun. So too was the mismatch of the Champions League Twenty20 final, where the Warriors simply didn't have enough ammunition to overcome the Chennai Super Kings.

The Eastern Cape franchise must have undergone an overnight transformation. The eleven brave soldiers who handed South Australian Redbacks their first defeat of the tournament on Saturday had been replaced by eleven drowning sailors who stood no chance against a navy that was intent on claiming spoils. Davy Jacobs, captain of the Warriors, offered no excuses, accepting that his men had met their match. "We have to give credit where it's due, it's not just that we screwed up," he said.

The Warriors' challenge ended almost as quickly as their namesakes' did over 170 years ago. When R Ashwin trapped Jacobs lbw in the sixth over, the victory calls for Chennai may as well have started sounding. After Jacobs' dismissal, the Warriors hit just six boundaries. The men from the Eastern Cape couldn't get together in any discipline after that. "Their two spinners really tied us down. Ashwin is a quality bowler and Murali is world class," Jacobs said.

It sounded very much like Jacobs knew the match was over then. He admitted that the batsmen didn't know how to approach their task with the Chennai spinners in operation. "We didn't really have a strategy to attack them and when we lost one or two wickets, we tried to get some momentum and take them on, but it wasn't our night," he said.

Jacobs didn't have to be asked if he thought 128 was enough, it was obvious that he knew it wasn't. He may not have thrown in the towel there, saying that no team can ever "run away" with a final, but he did change his bowling strategy. Oddly, Jacobs tossed the ball to Makhaya Ntini to open the bowling and not to his regular go-to man, Rusty Theron. "We thought we'd give him a go since he was playing against his IPL team," Jacobs explained with a shrug, and then a hint of a smile.

That he managed a fraction of a toothy grin at all was unexpected, because Jacobs had taken the loss hard. "We are very disappointed. If someone had told us before that we would lose in the final, we would have taken it, but once we got here we wanted to win," he said. Jacobs is fiercely ambitious and has spoken freely about his team's desire to be crowned the best in the world. He quickly realises that they may have just stepped on the path to that. "We wanted to leave a legacy and I think we have started that," he said.

Jacobs didn't labour the point, he isn't one for drawn out conversations or overly laudatory speak. He recognised the achievement of the franchise, particularly in the light of the massive prize money they will earn. "This is a massive achievement for the Eastern Cape. The last 18 months have been unbeliev…., unbeliev…," he stopped, giggled off his inability to pronounce the word and said it in Afrikaans instead, "ongelooflijk." Then he looked around the room. "I don't even know what the question was," he said. No one else knew either.

What they did know was this down-to-earth, frank player is surely destined for bigger things. "I've received a couple of calls from India with a few offers," he tailed off. Perhaps the IPL is beckoning for Jacobs. It could do with some of his wholesomeness. Even more so, with some of his selflessness. "I would have given up all of my runs for a win tonight," he said. Anyone who saw the look in his eyes when he said that would have known that this warrior will come back, making sure his men are armed with machine guns next time.

Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg

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