The high-riding bizhub Highveld Lions take on a resurgent Chevrolet Knights team in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. The bizhub Highveld Lions have made the perfect start to their campaign, with four wins out of four, while the Chevrolet Knights got off the bottom of the log with an emphatic victory over the Sunfoil Dolphins on Wednesday.
Things are going pretty much to plan for the bizhub Highveld Lions. They have started well and have been playing some good cricket. There has been much talk of bonus points. Coach Geoff Toyana is not obsessed with gathering bonus points. "The important thing is to win all our games. If the bonus point comes, that is fine, but it is also a sign that the other team has played badly. We will try to secure a bonus point if the chance is there."
While the T20 format is regarded as a batsman's game, Toyana feels that the bowlers also have a role to play in winning matches. His team is built around six batsmen, but the five bowlers are able to contribute with the bat. "The game against the Knights will be a test of our depth," said Toyana.
Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris are in the Proteas line-up for the weekend KFC T20 International matches, as is left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso. However, Toyana is happy to have players of the calibre of Cliffe Deacon, Thami Tsolekile and Pumelela Matshikwe waiting in the wings for their chance to shine. The team will be finalised later today.
One name that will certainly be on the team sheet is Alviro Petersen. The Proteas opener is not part of the national limited overs squad, and Toyana hopes that he will bring some fresh ideas as he returns to lead the team.
Sarel Cilliers, the Chevrolet Knights coach, is still basking in the win over the Sunfoil Dolphins. "It was our first proper game. We bowled and fielded well, and the batting of Dean Elgar and Rilee Rossouw was unbelievable. The players are grasping the energy and intensity needed to succeed in the short format.
Cilliers was full of praise for the innings played by Rossouw, who surprised many critics with his aggressive showing. "Rilee has a big array of shots, which he normally only shows us in the nets. It was a quite special innings, and we hope that he can produce such form consistently. It is not easy to bowl to him."
Rossouw has been around for a while, but not as long as Nicky Boje. The veteran left-arm spinner was named as the best bowler on Wednesday. "Nicky is as fit as ever, and sets the example to the youngsters at training. Wednesday night was a great example of his being used at the right time."