We preview the opening match of the Momentum One Day Cup which will see the bizhub Highveld Lions take on the Warriors at the Wanderers.
We go straight from the Ram Slam T20 Challenge into the Momentum One Day Cup with bizhub Highveld Lions opening things up against the Warriors at the Wanderers on Wednesday.
Neither of these two sides made the semi-finals of the T20 competition and will look to get off to the best possible start in the List A competition.
Lions vs Warriors | Wednesday 20 December | The Wanderers, Johannesburg | 13:00
To Win Match
Lions 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Warriors 5/4
bizhub Highveld Lions
The Lions would have been bitterly disappointed to have missed out on the play-offs in the shortest format of the game and will look to put things right in the 50-over format. Their squad won’t be affected too adversely by Protea Test call-ups with the key duo of Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks both available for the Momentum One Day Cup.
Geoffrey Toyana will also be hoping to see more form Mangaliso Mosehle. The wicket-keeper is an excellent gloveman but just needs to show a little bit more with the bat. His List A average of 22.40 suggests that he’s more than capable with the willow, but only a single century and seven fifties in 103 matches seems to suggest that he battles to convert promising starts.
They also boast two of the best all-rounders in the competition in the form of Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius. Both are excellent with the bat and have proven that they’re no mugs with the ball either,
We’ll also see Stephen Cook come back into the side. He wasn’t used during the T20 competition and is generally happier in the intermediate and longer formats. The skipper will need to be the one to anchor the innings while Hendricks and van der Dussen play their natural attacking games.
Lastly, I really like the look of the Lions’ attack. Hardus Viljoen, Beuran Hendricks will spearhead an attack that could include the likes of Aaron Phangiso, Aya Myoli, Bjorn Fontuin as well as all-rounders Mulder and Pretorius. They’re a very well balanced unit and could very well go all the way this season especially with the Titans missing all of their Proteas.
The Warriors come into the competition as losing finalists from the season before but may need a minor miracle if they are to repeat the trick. They kept the bulk of the squad but many of the players that looked so good last season are struggling for form this term.
Jon-Jon Smuts comes to mind. The Grahamstown native battled all the way through to same T20 competition he set alight last season. Whether or not he can shake off his struggles in the shortest format of the game and start scoring runs in the 50 over competition will go a long way in determining whether the Warriors secure another play-off place.
The also be without Colin Ingram who managed to secure a Big Bash contract with the Adelaide Strikers. His absence will put extra pressure on Smuts as well as Colin Ackermann to get the runs at the top of the order.
Bowling wise I think they may struggle too. Obviously Andrew Birch will be the go to guy tomorrow and will likely open the bowling. He topped the wicket-taking charts for the Warriors in the Ram Slam T20 and was followed by Smut who is a batting all-rounder.
They’ll struggle to bowl teams out this season and may battle to bat out their overs in many of their games. Don’t be too quick to write them off, though. They absolutely love the underdog tag and will most certainly bag a big scalp or two this season, especially in Port Elizabeth and East London.
Verdict: bizhub Highveld Lions 67/100
The Lions only really missed out on an opportunity to compete in the semi-finals of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge because their last game was rained out. They boast one of the best top orders in the competition and should be far too strong for a spirited Warriors in the Highveld.