Ram Slam T20 Challenge: VKB Knights vs bizhub Highveld Lions Preview

Batsman Hits Ball

We're in for an absolute treat when the VKB Knights take on the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Manguang Oval in Ram Slam T20 Challenge action on Friday. 

Friday’s televised match will see third take on fourth as the VKB Knights and the bizhub Highveld Lions do battle at the Manguang Oval.

It’s shaping up to be an absolute belter of a match with both sides boasting explosive top and middle orders. Could we be in for a bit of run fest? Let’s take a look:

Knights vs Lions | Friday 1 December | Manguang Oval, Bloemfontein | 18:00 

To Win Match 
Knights 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | Lions 23/20

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VKB Knights
I’ve really been impressed with the Knights this term. They’ve had a few underwhelming T20 campaigns of late, but they’ve kept themselves in the thick of things with two wins, two defeats and one washout.

They – along with the Dolphins – have a game in hand on the rest of the teams in the competition which puts them at a bit of an advantage. Still, Nicky Boje won’t use that cushion as an excuse for a mediocre performance from his array of stars.

And what a team Boje can field. David Miller, Theunis de Bruyn, Ryan McLaren, Eddie Leie and Marchant de Lange are the guys who really stand out. All of them have played well this season with Miller and Leie arguably the pick of the bunch.

Eddie has been around the domestic scene forever and has won two caps for the Proteas’ T20 squad. It’s not often you find an attacking leg-spinner who is so adept at strangling opposition batsmen. He’ll offer his old Lions colleagues very few freebies and offer his side four overs of constant attacking threat.

We also need to touch on Shadley van Schalkwyk. The Wynburg Boys' High graduate has been in brilliant this season on his way to taking seven wickets in four matches. His contribution at the top of the Lions' innings will be vital. If he along with de Lange can put the pressure on the free-scoring duo Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen and keep a lid on the score, the Knights stand every chance of winning here.

bizhub Highveld Lions
The Lions are unfortunately suffering from the same issue as the Cape Cobras – only two of their batsmen are getting runs. Reeza Hendricks has been the standout batsman in the competition thus far but has received very little support from the majority of the top and middle order.

His 319 runs have come from just five innings and includes a century against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins and two further half-centuries. He’s well on track to outscore last season’s best batsman, JJ Smuts who bagged 371-runs in 11 innings and indeed force himself into the national team’s plans.

Rassie van der Dussen is the other player who has performed with the bat. He too has been lurking with intent on the periphery of the national side over the last few years and could crack the nod sooner rather than later. Despite starting the season poorly with an opening day duck followed up by an underwhelming 12 against the Cobras, he’s gone 57, 51 and 47 against the Dolphins, Cobras and Warriors respectively.

I’ve also been really impressed with their attack. Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso and Wiaan Mulder have all been consistently good. However, Kagiso Rabada has been head and shoulders above everyone in the competition (with the exception of Lungi Ngidi).

He tops the wicket-taking charts with eight from his 18.2 overs and boasts an unreal economy rate of 6.70. How well he does against the Knights all-action middle order could well determine which way this match goes.

Verdict: bizhub Highveld Lions 23/20
There’s massive value here backing the Lions to come out on top. They’ve just got better and better as the competition has gone on and boast arguably the best opening batsmen as well as the best seam attack in the competition. Get on at 23/20!  

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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