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We are down to the final few matches in the ongoing CSA T20 Challenge and the things are beginning to take up shape nicely. The dogfight to secure a berth in the playoffs will reach another level with Lions set to take on Cape Cobras in the upcoming encounter. The match is to be played at the Newlands on 26th April. While Cape Cobras secured a win in their last encounter and look comfortably placed at the top of the table, the Lions are desperately looking for a win to confirm a playoff berth. It's hard to choose between the sides with both teams having some sensational players in their lineup. Let's take a close a look at how these two teams fare on all aspects.
Cape Cobras were nowhere close to being perceived as favorites before the competition began. However, they have been so good in the last few matches, it is hard to imagine them doing poorly in any of the matches. They've won five out of the eight players with one of their matches washed out due to rain. With just two more matches to go, their qualification to the playoffs is certain.
With a win in their previous encounter, it is unexpected that Rory Kleinveldt will make any changes to the playing eleven. They were brilliant against the Titans and will be looking to repeat the same against Lions as well.
Despite their terrific form, the under-performing Hashim Amla remains their major cause of concern. So far, the likes of Malan, Bedingham, and Verreynne have carried them brilliantly, but it will be interesting to see how they fare when any of their top-order fails. Linde, Philander, and the skipper himself have done decently with the ball in all the matches gone so far. With all-rounders doing well for them, the Cobras are an extremely well-balanced side and will be tough to beat in the upcoming encounter.
Hashim Amla, Janneman Malan, David Bedingham, Jean-Paul Duminy, JF Smith, Aviwe Mgijima, George Linde, VD Philander, Rory Kleinveldt, T Bokako, Nkululeko Serame.
Not long ago, Lions were at the top of the table and that too by some distance. However, slowly and steadily they lost the momentum and the advantage as they now find themselves in a tricky situation as far as qualification for the next round is concerned.
With just three wins to their name, Lions find themselves at the third spot with Titans and Dolphins breathing down their neck. Over the last few days, Lions have gone through plenty of chops and changes. We are likely to see Wiaan Mulder back after missing out in the last game while Lions are dearly going to miss the services of Beuran Hendricks who is flying to India as a replacement for Alzarri Joseph in Indian Premier League.
Apart from the above-mentioned changes, everyone in the squad should retain their places as the last match. Rickelton who looked in superb touch in the first few matches of the tournament hasn't really showcased his ability in the subsequent matches and Lions will want him to fire from all cylinders. With as many as four players having international experience, this Lions' unit is rich in experience and are perfectly balanced with both batting and bowling doing reasonably well. Unless a collective failure happens, as was the case against Warriors, Lions aren't going to be easy to beat.
Ryan Rickelton, Reeza Hendricks, RVD Dussen, Temba Bavuma, PWA Mulder, Dwaine Pretorius, Wihan Lubbe, Bjorn Fortuin, Nono Pongolo, MP Siboto, Lizaad Williams.
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With both teams being immaculately balanced on-paper, there's only a little to choose between them. For Lions, registering a win here is of utmost importance. Cape Cobras have already qualified for the next round, but will still be looking to maintain their supremacy at the ladder. Considering the two teams on the basis of form, Cape Cobras are clearly ahead. They're also playing at home which is always a good advantage to have. For those reasons, we think that Cape Cobras a better-placed to register a win in the upcoming encounter.
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