The Highveld Lions head to Buffalo Park for Friday’s Momentum One-Day Cup clash with the Warriors looking for a more rounded team performance but shorn of both a key batsman and a seam bowler.
While Alviro Petersen has started the new season with a record three straight hundreds in the competition, that has only translated into one victory for the Lions, highlighting the importance of more than one player coming good in any one game.
‘The disappointing thing is that Alviro has put in three really good performances, and there haven’t been enough supporting roles to assist him,’ said Lions captain Stephen Cook.
‘Sometimes one outstanding performance can, on its day, turn a match, but generally you need quite a few guys to contribute.’
However, the search for more convincing totals has been hampered by the loss of Temba Bavuma to the Proteas squad ahead of the Test series in India, while the seam attack has been weakened by Pumi Matshikwe’s hamstring injury, which will rule him out for six weeks.
The good news is that a change in conditions opens the door for 21-year-old left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, who was forced to make way for Eddie Leie when the left-armer returned from India despite an impressive performance in the opening round of the tournament.
‘We’re taking two spinners down there – we know how the wicket plays in East London normally – so we’ll have a couple of changes,’ confirmed coach Geoff Toyana.
The Warriors have also been affected by the departure of South Africa’s Test specialists, with Simon Harmer now unavailable, and will wait to see if Lundi Mbane can prove his fitness ahead of Friday’s game.
Nevertheless they should feel more comfortable adapting to the conditions at Buffalo Park, where they beat the Lions with a bonus point in the corresponding fixture last season.
‘It’s a place we’ve done well over the years, but mainly because we go there and bat with intent and play our shots, so hopefully this season we can kick on and do the same,’ said Colin Ingram.
Lions squad: Stephen Cook (capt), Rassie van Der Dussen, Alviro Petersen, Neil McKenzie, Dominic Hendricks, Thami Tsolekile, Shaylen Pillay, Dwayne Pretorius, Hardus Viljoen, Eddie Leie, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Carmi le Roux.