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|Rassie van der Dussen||7||12||0||0||58.33|
|Shadley van Schalkwyk||4.0||0||37||1||9.25|
|Raynard van Tonder||32||26||4||1||123.08|
|Shadley van Schalkwyk||1||5||0||0||20.00|
|PJ van Biljon||11||20||0||0||55.00|
All teams have played two matches each in the ongoing CSA T20 Challenge and there nothing to choose between the sides as of now. As many as four teams are tied for the second spot if we disregard the net run-rate, and things are only going to get more interesting from here. Lions earned their maiden win of the tournament a couple of days ago over Dolphins and will be looking to carry on with the momentum when they take on Knights in the upcoming encounter. The Knights had a poor run in the Momentum One Day Cup and their start in this tournament hasn't been good either. With one team looking to get off the mark in the tournament and the other one looking to occupy the top spot, it definitely going to be a hard tussle between the two sides.
On paper, the Lions are nothing less than a batting powerhouse. However, they haven't really shown the same level of dominance in the field. Lions have had a mixed tournament thus far - they lost to Warriors in a closely-fought first match and then came back from behind to register an all-important win over Dolphins in their last encounter.
While it's the top-order where the strength of the Lions lie, it was their middle-order and the bowling which won them their last match. Batting first on a dicey surface, their batting struggled to stay around against Dolphins' new-ball bowlers as Ryan Rickelton, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, and Temba Bavuma all departed with the first ten overs. Wiaan Mulder then played an enterprising knock of 59 runs in just 34 deliveries as he single-handedly took his team close to 160.
Wiaan Mulder was equally impressive with the ball as well as he conceded just 24 runs off his four overs and picked up a wicket in the process. As far as bowling is concerned, it was fantastic spell upfront by Bjorn Fortuin who picked up two wickets for 14 and won the game for the Lions. Apart from him, Aaron Phangiso was also instrumental in the defense of a smallish total as he too picked up 2 wickets to add on to his miserly spell.
Ryan Rickelton, Reeza Hendricks, RVD Dussen, Temba Bavuma, PWA Mulder, Dwaine Pretorius, Wihan Lubbe, Bjorn Fortuin, Aaron Phangiso, MP Siboto, B Hendricks.
Things haven't really been bright for the Knights in recent times. They languished at the bottom of the points table for the most part of the Momentum One Day Cup and eventually failed to qualify for the top-four despite the late surge.
They've started off on a similar note here as well with zero wins in two games gone so far. Their major problem in the One Day Cup was their inconsistent and fragile batting which they've exhibited in the shortest version of the game as well. They failed to put up a par score against Dolphins, in their first match, as none of their batsmen could stick around after getting a start. As many as six batsmen got into the double figures, but the highest individual score was 31 from Aubrey Swanepoel.
Defending 133 wasn't going to be easy and it didn't happen either. The Knights have a decent bowling attack, at least on paper, and almost lived up the expectations only to be left disappointed at the end. Shadley van Schalkwyk and Eddie Leie were their two best bowlers who together gave away 41 runs off their eight overs combined, but the total of 133 proved to be too little to defend.
AGS Gous, Patrick Kruger, Raynard van Tonder, PJ van Biljon, Grant Mokoena, Ryan McLaren, Gerald Coetzee, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Ottneil Baartman, Eddie Leie, T Ntuli.
When the two teams with such disparity in recent forms meet each other, it is often perceived to be a no contest. However, such is the nature of the game, and more the format, that results never cease to amaze us. While the Knights have their strengths, their batting is a little too fragile and might struggle against an in-form bowling attack of Lions. Lions are a better team on paper on all accounts and are therefore our pick to win the upcoming match on Friday.
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