In-Form Lions Seek Format Transition

Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana feels their four-day form will count for little when they shift focus to the Momentum One-Day Cup action against the Warriors at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.  The Lions are soaring in the Sunfoil Series competition where they are the only unbeaten side after five rounds and sit amongst the front runners in second position.  They head into the game against the Warriors in third position on the 50-over log as the tournament resumes for the first time since October.

Toyana says:  ‘It’s a different format and it’s always quite difficult to make that sudden shift.  In saying that, we’ve prepared quite well over the last few days.  We will be missing a number of players, but we have to get on with it.’  Proteas pair Hardus Viljoen and Aaron Phangiso are away with the South Africa ‘A’ team this weekend, while star four-day performer Dwaine Pretorius has been added to the casualty list alongside Thami Tsolekile.

It means that rookies like Nicky Van Der Bergh, Carmi Le Roux and Sean Jamieson are all in the squad and could feature.  Two of their other Proteas are also in the frame to play, Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma.  For the Warriors, a change of competition will come as a huge relief after their struggles in the four-day game, where they have lost four out of their five matches.

Coach Malibongwe Maketa is looking forward to it, more so because they sit joint top of the table alongside the Cape Cobras.  He says:  ‘Obviously we’re looking forward to changing format in terms of where we were in four-day cricket.  It’s exciting times for us to be where we are at the top of the table in this format, so we’re really looking forward to it.  It’s going to need a big mental shift from us, but we’re confident that we’ll be ready despite what has gone on in four-day cricket.  We have a few fresh faces coming into the squad and hopefully that will help us.’

The Warriors, who also play the Titans on Sunday, welcome back one-day specialists Jon-Jon Smuts and Christiaan Jonker to their squad.

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