Sunfoil Series: Lions and Titans look to forge ahead in race for league honours in matches starting Thursday.
Warriors v Highveld Lions, East London
The Highveld Lions, sitting with a comfortable lead at the top of the log, are at full strength ahead of their game against the Warriors.
They could stay with the side that beat the Dolphins by 10 wickets last weekend , or they can bring back some more big guns.
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.
Definitely in the side is Kagiso Rabada, who took nine wickets in the innings and 14 in the match, even though coach Geoffrey Toyana is keen to manage his workload. But this is an opportunity to test his mettle. ‘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.’
The Warriors, though, need to bounce back after their 10-wicket loss to the Titans at Port Elizabeth last time out. And they will be without Davy Jacobs, who announced his retirement from franchise cricket this week.
Cape Cobras v Titans, Paarl
The pressure is on the Titans in this match, knowing they have to win to keep pace with the rampant Lions.
The Cape Cobras are able to recall some top players after last week’s poor turnout: Justin Ontong, Rory Kleinveldt and Dane Vilas were all absent last week due to the imminent arrival of children as a green Cobras side fell narrowly short of beating the Knights, while Mthokozisi Shezi was nursing a side strain. Robin Peterson could also be back in action if he has recovered from a side strain.
The only doubt for the Titans is Heino Kuhn, who is battling with a back problem, and coach Rob Walter is looking for a similarly strong performance to the one that churned out a three-day win over the Warriors last week.
Dolphins v Knights, Durban
It is crunch time for the Dolphins , who will have to win at least three of their remaining five matches if they are to feature in the finale. They welcome back Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
The three players were absent in last week’s defeat to the Lions which left the Dolphins 44 points adrift of the league leaders but with a game in hand,en.”
The Knights will be strengthened by the return of Quinton Friend after he passed a fitness test on Tuesday, but Dillon du Preez has not recovered sufficiently for this round of games.
HOW THEY STAND
637 (av 70.85): Roelof van der Merwe (Titans)
637 (70.77): Colin Ingram (Warriors)
527 (58.55): Heino Kuhn (Titans)
507 (48.98): Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions)
472 (78.66): Farhaan Behardien (Titans)
458 (50.88): Pite van Biljon (Knights)
411 (45.66): Rudi Second (Knights)
404 (44.88): Theunis de Bruyn (Titans)
386 (42.88): Imraan Kahn (Dolphins)
385 (48.12): Obus Pienaar (Knights)
367 (30.58): Michael Price (Warriors)
25 (av 17.20) Kagiso Rabada (Lions)
23 (28.34): Simon Harmer (Warriors)
22 (25.09): Rowan Richards (Titans)
22 (28.72) Andrew Birch (Warriors)
20 (33.25) Werner Coetsee (Knights)
19 32.31) BD Walters (Warriors)
18 (17.00) Hardus Viljoen (Lions)
17 (25.12) Dane Paterson (Cobras)
16 (29.75) George Linde (Cobras)