bizhub Highveld Lions vs Chevrolet Warriors | Wednesday 24 February | The Wanderers | 14:00
It’s hard to believe that the first round of Momentum One Day Cup matches started just a week after South Africa’s tour of India got underway in October last year. It is worth noting, however, that the competition was put on hold for the Ram Slam T20 and the Sunfoil Series during that time.
That said, five months after the competition started back on the 9th of October, we’re finally down to just three teams. Wednesday will see the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Chevrolet Warriors slug it out at the Wanderers for the right to play the Cape Cobras in the final this Sunday.
To Win Match
Lions 8/10 | Draw 35/1 | Warriors 1/1
bizhub Highveld Lions
The Lions have been in ominous form this season, winning five of their 10 games, losing three with two ‘no results.' They ended the regular season in second position on the log and could well have topped the standings had rain not intervened in two of their clashes.
Alviro Petersen has been the hero for the Gauteng-based franchise this season. His almost Bradman-esque form has set the competition alight, abandoning the more cautious approach that made him a fixture at the top of the South African Test order for a more attacking approach. In nine innings this season, the veteran right-hander has scored a monumental 669 runs in just nine innings at an eye-watering average of 95.57.
Most impressive, perhaps, is his strike rate of 101.05. He’s taken the attack to opposition bowlers throughout the season, dispatching them with aplomb. He’s been especially effective on the on-side – as he always has – whipping anything too straight through mid-wicket to the boundary. He’s not been the only batsman to shine, though. Captain, Stephen Cook has also had a solid season at the top of the Lions’ order. He’s averaged 51.25 this season, often playing an anchoring role while his more explosive partners look to attack opposition bowlers.
Matt McGillivray is another who’s impressed for Geoffrey Toyana’s side throughout this MODC campaign. While he’s struggled to keep scoring rates down, he has managed to become the Lions’ main strike bowler this season. He is especially effective when guys like Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso apply the pressure at the other end.
The Lions look great value for money here, and indeed to lift the Momentum One Day Cup. If you’re really looking for value, you can take the Lions to beat the Warriors on Wednesday as well as the Lions to win the tournament outright at 7.19.
The Warriors have endured a bit of a strange season in which they struggled in the Ram Slam T20 finishing fourth on the log. They’ve fared even worse in the Sunfoil Series where they currently occupy last place on the table where they’ve yet to win a game.
They have, however, enjoyed some degree of success in the Momentum One Day Cup where they snuck into the play-offs in third spot. Colin Ingram and Colin Ackerman have been in imperious form this season as they’ve almost single-handedly guided the men from the Eastern Cape to the play-offs. Averaging 78.33 and 67.25 respectively this season, the two are going to have to play a massive role in Wednesday night’s encounter if they’re to make the final at Newlands next week.
Another player to keep an eye on is Andrew Birch. The 30-year-old has been in magnificent form this term claiming 15 wickets at an average of 20.53. The highlight of his season was his performance against the Dolphins in which he decimated the KZN franchise finishing with figures of 4-15 in his 10 overs.
While Malibongwe Maketa’s side have punched well above their weight this season, I just don’t see them competing with a solid Lions outfit. They far too reliant on a core group of individuals while the remainder of the side contribute too little or too rarely – I simply don’t see them winning this encounter.
Verdict: Lions 8/10
The Lions possess too much talent in their side to really be troubled by the Warriors. Geoffrey Toyana’s men will also have the mental edge, having defeated the Warriors once this season already. Couple this with the fact that they will be playing at home, and they look good value at 8/10. If you’re hunting for even more value, take the Lions to win on Wednesday as well as winning the competition outright as a double at 7.19.