The Highveld Lions face some potentially tricky selection posers as they pick through an embarrassment of riches to name an XI for Thursday’s Sunfoil Series game against the Warriors at Buffalo Park. The bizhub Highveld Lions beat the Dolphins by 10 wickets last weekend despite losing most of a day to rain – thanks largely to Kagiso Rabada’s record-breaking 14-wicket haul – and now have three more top players at their disposal. Thami Tsolekile missed out last weekend due to the birth of his daughter but is now available, while Lonwabo Tsotsobe has recovered from injury and Dwaine Pretorius is also in the frame for selection.
Geoffrey Toyana stressed the importance of picking the right combination for the conditions, but one player who won’t be missing out is Rabada – even though the coach is mindful of the fast bowler’s workload. Toyana said: ‘I keep stressing that the key is to try and manage him smartly, because he’s still a baby – he’s only 19 years old. We’ll see how he responds to different conditions because that’s something that’s important in terms of his development. He played here at the Wanderers on a quick wicket that suited his style, so we’ll see how he adapts to conditions in East London.’ Those conditions have given the Warriors confidence as they attempt to bounce back from a 10-wicket defeat to the Titans.
Chevrolet Warriors skipper Colin Ingram said: ‘We took a bit of a hiding so we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re going to one of our favourite venues so we’re looking forward to it. We seem to adapt to the conditions there really well. We know it’s a very specific place – there’s not a lot of margin for error with the ball and the bat, it’s about grinding it out.’ The hosts will remain without Ayabulela Gqamane, whose season appears to be over due to a shoulder injury, as well as Davy Jacobs, who announced his retirement from franchise cricket this week.
HEAD TO HEAD – Warriors vs Highveld Lions
Matches Played 20
Warriors Win 4
Lions Win 8