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|NJ Van den Bergh||36||33||2||0||109.09|
Lions got off to a terrific start in the Momentum One Day Cup as they ran past Titans in the opening match of the tournament. A massive win over Titans would have given a massive boost to their confidence considering that they are known to largely underperform in this format of the game. They'll be looking to further build the momentum they got from the win and prove that their win over Titans was not a fluke. They'll be up against Cobras, who, too, registered a massive win over Warriors. Cobras have pretty well in this format of the game and they certainly won't be an easy team to get past, even for the roaring Lions. The match between the two sides is to be played on 7th February at Boland Park, Paarl.
Cobras got off to a superb start as their batting as well as their bowling both did exceedingly well against the Warriors in a rain curtailed encounter. Although the margin of their wasn't as big as the margin of Lions' win over Titans, it was enough to provide them with an exceptional net run-rate of 0.633. The Cobras are currently placed at the third spot on the ladder and a win here will take them to the first spot on the ladder provided other results go their way.
The star of their win was Thando Ntini who picked up four wickets for 36 runs before pulling up injured. Batting first on a beauty of a batting deck, Cape Cobras got off to the worst possible start. Hanno Kotze was trapped in front by Stuurman and the likes of Zubayr Hamza and Simon Khatri struggled to string a partnership with Pieter Malan. Jason Smith combined with Pieter Malan as the duo took Cobras to a commanding position. With 186 for 3 and 14 overs to go, the Cobras looked well set to score a total in excess of 300. However, they lost Pieter Malan and his wicket triggered a mini-collapse, which proved to be too much to handle for the Cobras. George Linde's 31 off 14 deliveries proved to be game-changing as that provided Cobras with much-needed impetus going into the mid-innings break.
Defending a total of 274, Cape Cobras needed to get off to a good start and they did. Although Warriors scored pretty quickly in the opening overs, they lost a couple of quick wickets and that slowed them down. Dane Paterson, Thando Ntini, and George Linde bowled well in the middle-overs as they kept Warriors' middle order quiet and picked up three important wickets in process. Eventually the Warriors were left with too much to do as they lost the match by a considerable margin of 29 runs.
The Cobras will be pretty relieved that they won't have to deal with forced change in their combination going into the upcoming match. There aren't many players from Cobras that are a part of South African team playing against England and, therefore, the cobras are expected to come out with more or less an unchanged lineup.
Pieter Malan, Hanno Kotze, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, JF Smith, Aviwe Mgijima, George Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Piedt, Dane Paterson, Thando Ntini.
It was a complete effort from Lions as not only did their batsmen setup a towering total, their bowlers executed their defense to perfection. Batting first in the first match of the competition, they registered a 73-run defeat over Titans, the defending champions. They earned a bonus point with a win and are currently placed at the second spot on the ladder, separated from Dolphins only on the basis of net run-rate.
Defending a total of 305, their bowlers did a notable job with Beuran Hendricks and Aaron Phangiso being the pick of their bowlers. Beuran Hendricks broke the backbone of Titans as he contributed with wickets upfront and Aaron Phangiso helped the team in the middle overs as not only did he picked up three crucial wickets, but also he didn't give away any easy runs in his spell. Even though Siboto and Bjorn Fortuin proved to be a bit expensive in their respective spells, the likes of Aaron Phangiso, EL Hawken, and Beuran Hendricks did more than enough to cover up for them.
Earlier with the bat, Ryan Rickelton and Rassive van der Dussen did a superb job after Lions lost Reeza Hendricks early. Rickelton added 78 runs with Bavuma before Bavuma was dismissed after scoring a personal score of 32. Rassie van der Dussen partnered together to add 106 runs to the total before Rickelton was dismissed just eight runs shy of a hundred. Their were a few cameos thereafter by Wihan Lubbe, Nickly van der Bergh, and Malusi Siboto, but Lions kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and were restricted to a total that was a lot less than what they appeared to be ending with at one stage. From 228 for 3, they slid to 305 all-out, and their middle-order needs to improve going forward in the tournament.
While the Lions did exceedingly well against the Titans, they won't enjoy the same on-paper strength against the Cobras. South Africa are playing an ODI series against England and most of their batsmen will be out on international duty. With the absence of Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Bjorn Fortuin, and Beuran Hendricks, the Lions will be left as a mere shadow of themselves and it will be interesting to see how their youngsters cope up with the pressure of keeping the winning run going.
NJ Van den Bergh, Ryan Rickelton, Dominic Hendricks, Kagiso Rapulana, Johannes Diseko, Wihan Lubbe, Delano Potgieter, Aaron Phangiso, MP Siboto, Nono Pongolo, Eldred Hawken.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the fourth Momentum One Day Cup match between Cape Cobras and Lions
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These are early days in the tournament, but as we witnessed in the last edition of the tournament, wins and consequently the momentum in the early part of the tournament can play a huge role in a team's fortunes. Both the sides are coming off superb wins in their respective matches and will be high on confidence. With most of their players out to play against England, Lions' management will have a huge job to fill the void. Cape Cobras, on the other hand, are likely to go in with an unchanged lineup, and are, therefore, better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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