Johannesburg – There will be no radical change in plan for the Highveld Lions, says captain Stephen Cook, following their first defeat in the One-Day Cup and heading into Wednesday's match against the Dolphins in Durban.
The Lions set the early pace in the competition with four impressive victories, before their unbeaten run was ended last week by the Knights in Potchefstroom.
In a rain-interrupted match, the Lions made 250 for seven before the Knights chased down a Duckworth/Lewis-adjusted target of 204 in 33 overs with six wickets and seven balls to spare, thanks to a brilliant partnership of 64 in 7.5 overs between Obus Pienaar and Ryan McLaren.
“We were obviously disappointed to lose,” Cook said on Monday.
“You never want a winning run to end, but it was one of those games where we didn't do anything drastically wrong, but lots of small mistakes added up against us.
“But it was a great partnership between Obus and Ryan. The game was in the balance and they took it away.
“It's certainly not panic stations for us.”
The loss allowed the Titans to eat away at the Lions' lead at the top of the log, with the northern Gauteng side trailing by six points. The Dolphins are in third place, nine points behind the Lions, and Cook recognised the importance of returning to winning ways.
“It's incredibly difficult to go through a competition unbeaten. That would mean winning 11 straight games,” he said.
“Obviously our goal is to finish first on the log and in that way qualify directly for the final, but the games come thick and fast in this competition and it’s important that we focus on one at a time.”
The Lions have traditionally done well when they travel to Durban, with the pitch often similar to what they have at the Wanderers.
“We've generally done well at Kingsmead. the pitch has bounce like at the Wanderers, even though it's been more tennis-ball bounce lately,” the skipper said.
“But the beauty of the franchise system is that every team is strong and we expect the Dolphins to be tough to beat, especially after two wins.
“We want to do well both at home and away and we will have to be right on our game to beat them.”
The Lions will hope that opening batsman Gulam Bodi and fast bowler Hardus Viljoen recover quickly from their fitness problems.
Bodi is expected to be back at the top of the order after missing the Knights loss due to illness, but Viljoen had to see a doctor on Monday and the competition's leading wicket-taker was doubtful for the game in Durban.
Cook said the Lions had full confidence, however, in back-up pacemen Ethan O'Reilly and Garnett Kruger. – Sapa