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|NJ Van den Bergh||4||6||1||0||66.67|
The Lions are set to take the field once again after a brief break of almost seven days in a game which will govern their future in the ongoing Momentum One Day Cup. They are currently placed at the fifth spot in the points table with just one win out of a total of six played. Their to-be opponents, Cape Cobras, have the same number of points in their kitty in one less match and are at the fourth spot due to more number of wins to their name. The upcoming fixture, which is to be played on 7th January at The Wanderers, Johannesburg. There's not a lot of time remaining in the competition for the Lions and it is imperative for them to register a win here so as to avoid the possibility of an early exit.
Lions had an unfortunate start to the tournament where they were robbed of two matches worth of game time due to inclement weather conditions. Ever since they've struggled to ride with the momentum and have won only one game from a total of six played. Having said that, the Lions have played very competitively and most of their matches have resulted in a nail-biting finish.
With the likes of Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, the Lions had a terrific batting lineup - arguably the best in the competition. However, the impact of South Africa's series against Sri Lanka has been harsh with a few of their key players away on national duties.
In their last match, they were once again hampered by the rain as they had to chase 284 runs off just 41 overs after being set to chase 310 in 50 overs before the break. Barring Phangiso and Fortuin, all their bowlers were either too expensive or failed to pick up any wickets which resulted in Warriors scoring massive total.
Chasing 281, they looked well on track at one stage with Dominic Hendricks and van den Bergh going well, but the loss of van der Bergh after scoring a personal score of 72 which resulted in a mini-collapse and the Lions fell short by eight runs.
Ryan Rickelton, Kagiso Rapulana, Dominic Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, NJ Van den Bergh, Dwaine Pretorius, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, Aaron Phangiso, MP Siboto, Nandre Burger.
The Cobras have had an interesting tournament thus far. They started off in the tournament with a narrow loss to Warriors, but have registered a win in alternate games since then. They currently stand at fifth spot on the ladder.
They are coming off a massive loss in their last game, against Titans, wherein the margin of win concluded to be 83 runs. Cobras' decision to bowl first after winning the toss was flowered with a lot of praise and it immediately reaped rewards as they reduced Titans to five down for just 33. However, their bowlers failed to induce any damage thereafter as Aiden Markram and Farhaan Behardien both scored a century each to guide them to a mammoth total. Dane Paterson was clobbered for 90 runs and barring Rory Kleinveldt and Mnyaka, who picked three wickets each for 36 and 57 respectively, no other bowler was able to inflict any damage whatsoever.
Chasing a tall total of 320, the Cobras needed to push the run-rate right from the beginning. However, they not only failed to score rapidly but also lost wickets in bunches in a quest to do so. Only Janneman Malan was able to stay at the wicket, but his 77-ball 71 run knock didn't prove to be enough for the Cobras as they lost the match by 83 runs.
Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Jean-Paul Duminy, Kyle Verreynne, Aviwe Mgijima, George Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Akhona Mnyaka.
As the competition for the top-four gets more and more intense with every passing match, there couldn't have been a more important game for these two sides. Cape Cobras and the Lions are currently on the opposite side of the line separating the probable semifinalists and the remaining sides with Cobras have an extra game to play. However, a Lions' victory will push them ahead of the Cobras at the ladder whereas a loss would not only increase the deficit with the fourth-placed team but also push Cobras further up. Considering the form of the two sides, there isn't really a lot to choose from. However, the Lions have a better lineup on paper and though they've been a little unfortunate in their run so far, we believe that they are more likely to register a much-needed win in the upcoming encounter.
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