About the Match
It’s a busy day in the CSA T20/ Ram Slam 2017 as three scheduled matches get underway. This one is between the current bottom two placed teams of the table, the Cape Cobras, and the Lions. Rain affected the opening match of both the teams and could have played a role in their defeats. Both the teams will want to get their act together quickly, though, as a compressed tournament like this does not offer too many chances.
It was Reeza Hendricks that kept the Lions in the game in the last match with a fighting knock of 67 from 42 deliveries as the other batsmen crumbled around him. He will once again play a central role in ensuring that the Lions are able to put up a big enough score against the star-studded Cape Cobras.
Rassie van Dussen, his opening partner, would want to put away the memories of his first ball duck and make amends in this match. He had some pretty decent form behind him coming into this tournament and the Lions will be hoping for some more of the same in the T20 tournament.
With other seasoned domestic performers like Ackerman, Mosehle, and some current internationals like Pretorius in the ranks as well, the Lions have a decent batting lineup.
We are not entirely sold on the Lions batting, though, as we believe they are too dependent on just a couple of individuals and are lacking the quality some of the other teams boast in the middle order.
Their bowling is led by Kagiso Rabada, a world-class bowler, and one that will be chomping for some redemption after being smashed all over the park by AB de Villiers in the last match. With Rabada, Hendricks, Pretorius, Mulder, and Phangiso, the Lions bowling is certainly their stronger suit.
Whether that will hold them in good stead on flat pitches against extremely proficient T20 batsmen remains to be seen.
One of the pre-tournament favorites, the Cape Cobras were blown away by a brilliant inning by Sarel Erwee in the first game and hampered by rain somewhat as well.
You would think, though, that with Levi, Amla, Bavuma, and Duminy as the top-4, this team will score the runs necessary to win more matches than not. In the first match, it was only Amla out of these four that managed to make it into double figures, eventually staying not out on 52 from 27 deliveries before the rain came down.
Mgijima also had a good outing and solidified his position in the lower middle order with 37 from 19 deliveries.
We don’t think there is any need for panic or changes to the batting order for the Cape Cobras right now. They just need to back their players because one or more will start to convert these opportunities into big runs very soon.
Something that will be of much greater concern than their batting will be the manner in which their bowlers crumbled under pressure. Vernon Philander is not the most renowned of T20 bowlers but he would think himself good enough to put pressure on the opposition in a domestic tournament.
Dane Paterson is now a regular South Africa international while Rory Kleinveldt continues to be rated as one of the yorker specialists going around. All three of these bowlers went for close to 12 runs an over in the last game.
JP Duminy too tried his hand at bowling and ended up giving away 40 runs from just three overs.
The Cape Cobras have the squad to put up big runs or chase them down consistently but their bowling performance in the first game would make their fans very jittery. Pressure on JP Duminy to score runs and justify his place in the national setup could also have a bearing on his captaincy going into the tournament.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather is expected to be perfect for the cricket with no rain predicted to be in sight. The pitch at the Wanderers is usually true with plenty of carry and should provide the ideal conditions for batsmen to tee off.
Cape Cobras to wi