Replacements named in team to take on Lions in Sunfoil Series
The Warriors will be banking on their reserves’ depth as they head into their Sunfoil Series fixture against the Lions in Johannesburg today.
Experienced seamer Basheer Walters misses the game due to paternity leave while batsman Somila Seyibokwe is also ruled out due to a family bereavement.
Coach Malibongwe Maketa acknowledged that the Lions would offer a stern test of their credentials, but felt they were ready after their drawn batting fest with the Cape Cobras.
“It will be a big challenge against a team that loves playing at the Wanderers, but we’re looking forward to it,” Maketa said.
“We ’re not over the moon with the way we started the season, but we’ve seen strong improvements and we’re getting better as a team. “There are obviously things we need to improve on, but in general we’re going in the right direction in terms of four-day cricket.”
Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is hoping a return to their favourite ground will make the difference ahead.
The hosts, who have won their only match there this season and have traditionally done well in Johannesburg, have lost and drawn their other two matches so far this season.
Their opponents from the Eastern Cape have the same win-loss-draw record from the three rounds already completed, but the Lions know the Warriors are a dangerous team.
“We ’re playing at our favourite ground and it should be a good one,” Toyana said.
“The Warriors are playing some good cricket and they’ve been improving each week. “They have Colin Ackermann who is in good form and they also have someone like Simon Harmer, who is a key part of their team.”
“We know all about them because of the way they easily beat us at the end of last season, so we know we can’t take them lightly. “But we’re confident of a good result.”
Toyana had raised concerns over the Lions’ poor batting prior to the last game against the Knights when their highest score in four outings was 160, but he was far happier after a draw in Kimberley following scores of 483 and 310/9.
“I’m pleased with the way we batted, so things are looking a bit better now,” he said.
“The bowling has really been our strength so far and I hope the guys can keep going in that regard.”
Yaseen Valli and Aaron Phangiso have been added to their squad and are in contention.
The squads are: Warriors: Colin Ackermann, Andrew Birch, Clyde Fortuin, Ayabulelo Gqamane, Simon Harmer (captain), Sisanda Magala, Edward Moore, Lesiba Ngoepe, Gihahn Cloete, Michael Price, Tladi Bokako, Yaseen Vallie, David White. Lions: Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Dominic Hendricks (captain), Nicky van den Bergh, Yaseen Valli, Dwaine Pretorius, Mangaliso Mosehle, Wiaan Mulder, Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Aya Miyoli, Bjorn Fortuin, Nono Pongolo, Sean Jamison.
Meanwhile, Dolphins coach Grant Morgan says they will give the Knights’ bowling attack the respect it deserves, but insists they will not fear the opposition at Kingsmead from today.
The match on the east coast is a top-of-the-table affair with both teams having won two out of their three matches to date. In the other game starting today, the Titans face the Cobras in Cape Town.