About the Match
The Momentum One-day Cup Semi-Final match will be held between second and third place finishers Lions and Warriors at Johannesburg on 24th February. The last time these two teams met each other, Lions had defeated Warriors by a close margin of 4 runs, defending 256 runs successfully; the upcoming knock-out match is crucial and Warriors will be eager to do better than last time. Both sides have well-balanced squads with experienced batsmen and in-form bowlers, who can help their teams take their campaign forward; it needs to be seen which of these teams moves ahead to meet Cape Cobras in the finals.
Against Knights, the bowlers put up a stupendous show as McGillivray took 3-32 while Leie demolished the opponents by taking 3 scalps giving away only 43 runs; Roux, Phangiso and Matshikwe provided regular breakthroughs and contain the opposition to 169 runs. The batsmen led by captain Stephen Cook’s brilliant 64 off 96 while Alviro Petersen and Nicky Bergh contributed with sturdy partnerships to take the team safely home with more than 10 overs to spare.
Cook leads from the front with his strong batting skills; his heroic 112 off 127 against Warriors helped them post 256 runs batting first; Petersen and Bergh are in good nick with the bat but the others need to come out all guns blazing here. The bowlers put up economical spells and stifled the Warriors as Roux, Matshikwe, McGillivray, Fortuin and Leie, who took wickets at regular interval, might miss this game due to slight niggle; they won the match by 4 runs and will be confident to repeat the winning performance yet again here.
The Lions have done well to reach the second position in this lengthy series, exhibiting their endurance and determination to be at the top; if Cook and other batsmen can post a solid foundation whether batting first or during chase, they definitely look good to be the second finalist.
A brilliant 5-43 by Sitsanda Magala against Lions, helped them restrict Lions to 256 runs but the batsmen fell short by 4 runs despite building good partnerships during the chase. They will need to have a good strategy against the Lions bowlers in order to emerge victorious on Wednesday. Their top-order consists of players like Ackermann, Smuts and captain Ingram, who posted 60 against Lions. Jonker has contributed well from the middle-order but others like Vallie, Nqolo and Fortuin must stabilize the innings whether batting first or during a chase.
Against Dolphins recently, Andrew Birch registered a brilliant figure of 4-15 in his 10-over spell to demolish the opposition to just 110 runs with help from Walters and Gqamane; Smuts and Ackermann posted a brilliant 108-run opening stand to win the match emphatically by 9 wickets with more than 26 overs to spare.
They have a strong pace attack that can outwit the Lions batting line-up if they put their minds to it; the top-order is in good form and if the others down the line can stabilize the innings, then Warriors can prove to be a tough unit to crack here.
The Lions have definitely performed better than Warriors till now and the upcoming match provides a clean slate to them both and they will be eager to use their resources to dominate on the field. This could well be a contest between the bowlers, who are in terrific form but we feel that Lions with a consistent batting performance is better placed to emerge victorious on Wednesday