The bitter disappointment of their final matches in the Champions League is still fresh in the memory of the players from the Nashua Titans and the bizhub Highveld Lions.
Both teams lost to the eventual Champions League winners, the Sydney Sixers; the Titans in a tight and pulsating semifinal, while the Lions were absolutely hammered when they met the Australian franchise a couple of days later in the final.
“Although we’ve been given a few days off, the mind doesn’t rest after a defeat like that,” Aaron Phangiso reflected yesterday.
The stakes were huge in that T20 competition, as was the prestige, so the defeats cut deep.
Which makes winning today’s opening encounter of the newly titled Momentum One-Day Cup so important for both sides.
The Titans and the Lions emerged from the Champions League with great credit (and some extra cash) and they’re keen to apply the lessons learned in that tournament.
“The guys have scored runs against the best bowlers in the world and got out some of the best batters in the world, when it comes down to our domestic cricket that can only lead to confidence,” said the Lions’ stand-in captain Stephen Cook, who was not part of the Champions League squad.
“I believe you get into the habit of winning, the guys have played superbly and if we can start this one-day competition on a roll, there is no reason why it can’t carry on.”
The Lions will be without two experienced heads in Alviro Petersen and Thami Tsolekile, who are on national duty Down Under. Their absence, though, has not upset the Lions too much. Cook is likely to open with Gulam Bodi – so stunningly effective in the CLT20 – while Quinton de Kock slips on the wicketkeeping gloves.
With Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanveer off home again, Hardus Viljoen returns and is likely to partner Chris Morris and Phumlela Matshikwe in the pace attack, to supplement the crafty slow bowling of Phangiso.
Today’s match is a 50-over affair, the first with the new rules, including just two Power Play periods, with two boundary fielders allowed in the first 10 overs, and three in the batting Power Play.
Nashua Titans (from): Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids, Martin van Jaarsveld (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Roelof van der Merwe, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle, Paul Harris, CJ de Villiers, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards
Highveld Lions (from): Stephen Cook (capt), Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Zander de Bruyn, Jean Symes, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Phumelela Matshikwe, Aaron Phangiso, Grant Mokoena, Dwaine Pretorius, Ethan O'Reilly, Garnet Kruger.
Today (D/N start 2.30pm) – Nashua Titans v Highveld Lions, Centurion.
Sunday (Day start 10am) – Sunfoil Dolphins v Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, Pietermaritzburg Oval; Chevrolet Knights v Chvrolet Warriors, Kimberley