The bizhub Highveld Lions go into Friday’s Momentum One-Day Cup clash with the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras at Sahara Park Newlands as strong favourites after brushing aside the Nashua Titans and the Chevrolet Warriors with disdain in their first two games of the competition.
Geoffrey Toyana’s men have certainly laid down the marker to the other five teams, and will surely be buzzing after continuing the tremendous form that saw them reach the final of the Champions League Twenty 20 last month. But despite blowing their opponents away, the Lions coach is ensuring that the men from the Highveld are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
“The biggest thing is that the guys are really playing for each other, and we are just trying to keep things simple. But we also know after every game that there is still a lot of cricket to be played, and we’re not going to be over-awed by our success so far. It’s about consistency, and we just have to make sure that on the day we are ready and put in good performances,” he said.
Although the Lions have been flawless in just about all areas of the game, the stand-out performances have been with the ball. The Lions attack have dismissed the opposition for 60 and 110 respectively in their two games so far, and, astonishingly, have spent a total of just 55 overs in the field.
“At the moment I think we’re bowling very well. We probably haven’t been tested yet. We know that this Friday our bowlers will probably come under pressure at some point, and that will be a challenge for us. But the guys are really in a good space at the moment, and they’re playing really good cricket,” Toyana said.
When asked whether there were any areas his side could improve, Toyana simply replied: “we try and improve by 5% every game.”
Paul Adams, the Cobras coach, is one man that will be hoping this isn’t the case on Friday evening, but he is fully aware of the challenge of playing against such rampant opposition.
“The Lions have really been on top of their game this season and it’s important that we put them under pressure. They’ve had games where they’ve knocked the opposition over upfront, so we really need to take them deeper into the game and see what happens,” he said.
The Cobras results have been less convincing than those of the Lions, as they followed up a narrow victory against the Sunfoil Dolphins with a defeat to the Titans on Wednesday. However, Adams remains optimistic, and believes being back at Sahara Park Newlands could give the Cobras an advantage against such formidable opposition.
“There were plenty of positives from the Titans game. Our top order is looking really good. Andrew Puttick showed his worth and experience, and Dane Vilas, who got an opportunity to bat a bit higher up the order, batted with aggression, so that’s good to see. Also, being at home again really resets your mind, and because we know we’ve been playing good cricket we want to display that in front of our home crowd,” he said.
The Lions have already put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack with two bonus-point victories. Paul Adams’ men, who sit in third place on four points, will be desperate to claim victory against the log leaders and close the gap.
Play at Sahara Park Newlands begins at 15h00 on Friday, with fine weather conditions predicted for Cape Town.