JOHANNESBURG – The alarm bells aren’t even tinkling at the Highveld Lions despite a sluggish start to the Momentum One-Day Cup that sees the side fifth after four matches.
They have yet to win, with the four points earned coming from two rained out matches at the Wanderers. There’s no need for alarm, yet.
The Momentum Cup will have two semi-finals, with the only advantage for the top teams being that they get to host those semis. And as the Warriors showed last summer when they defeated the table-topping Titans in the semi-final at SuperSport Park, it really is about timing your run properly.
So there’s a relaxed atmosphere at the Lions ahead of today’s match against the Titans in Potchefstroom.
Coach Enoch Nkwe is keen for that first win to come sooner rather than later. “We feel (that first win) is just around the corner, and when it comes hopefully we get on a roll and build some momentum towards the latter stages of the competition,” he said yesterday.
Significantly, today’s match is the last one with his Proteas available, most notably the two in-form batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks. That pair along with all-rounders Dwaine Pretorius and Wiaan Mulder will join the national team later this week for the five-match series against Sri Lanka starting at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Nkwe is unhappy the Lions haven’t made the most of their presence in the first half of the competition.
“You want to maximise performance when you have the Proteas around, especially guys who are in form. So the rain’s been a pity in that regard especially as it affected two matches at the Wanderers,” said Nkwe.
Hendricks and Van der Dussen made a hundred and half-century in the match against the Dolphins, but it wasn’t enough. In fact that match highlighted the major flaw in the Lions team thus far in the tournament, their death bowling.
They conceded 67 runs in the final five overs against the Dolphins, and in last Sunday’s 21-run defeat to the Cobras in Oudtshoorn, went for 47 runs in the same period.
“We’ve had to use some inexperienced guys in that role with the likes of Malusi (Siboto), Beuran (Hendricks) not available; Dwaine (Pretorious) is unaccustomed to that role but had to stand up.”
The Titans named a 13-man squad yesterday, 10 of whom have played for the Proteas.@shockerhess