In-form Warriors and Lions go head-to-head in Gqeberha in 4-Day Domestic series
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Johannesburg – The only two victorious teams from the opening round of the 4-Day Domestic series meet in Gqeberha from Friday morning, and a vastly different approach can be anticipated for both the Central Gauteng Lions and the Eastern Province Warriors.
Both won on the Highveld last week; the Lions using their four-pronged pace attack overwhelmed the North West Dragons at the Wanderers, and the Warriors’s pacemen shared 17 wickets between them in their team’s narrow victory against the Titans at SuperSport Park.
If the surface at St. George’s Park stays true to tradition, then the quicks shouldn’t have as much joy there over the next few days. That would mean a change in strategy for both teams, and thus a change in personnel.
Tshepo Ntuli, the 25 year old off-spinner, may be a candidate to start for the Lions in the event of the pitch looking like it could aid spin, while Ruan Haasbroek delivered some useful off-spinners in the T20 Knock Out tournament, although he falls more into the category of part-timer. The Warriors, with Robin Peterson as the head coach, will have plotted for spin, noting how the Lions blasted the Dragons away last week, and also that their top scorer in that match, Ryan Rickelton, doesn’t have a good history against slow bowlers.
Kyle Jacobs’ leg-spin and Tsepo Ndwandwa, slow left arm orthodox, provide options that will certainly be weighed up ahead of the toss on Friday morning.
The Titans meanwhile, are talking about retaining the momentum from the last three days of their match against the Warriors when they meet the KZN Dolphins. “We will bring the intensity of the last two innings against the Warriors into the first session on Friday, and we will be up for it," said Junior Dala. The Titans were rolled for 134 in their first innings in less than 40 overs last week, a performance for which they were deservedly punished in the final outcome.
The Dolphins were simply unlucky in Cape Town; having scored big in the first innings, they then knocked over Western Province and enforced the follow-on only for rain to save the Cape side, with just five overs bowled on the last day and WP seven wickets down in the second innings.
Further misfortune for the Dolphins is that they journeyed up to Centurion without Ottneil Baartman, who damaged his hamstring at Newlands. It’s a big blow as Baartman had started the season superbly in the T20 Knock Out and if he’d transferred that form into the first class competition, there’s every chance he’d have been looked at more closely by the national selectors.
For the Dolphins it meant a call up for Ruan de Swardt, the lanky all-rounder, and the prospect of more work with the ball for Jason Smith, not something he particularly relishes.
Boland and WP, meet in Paarl, in what should be a feisty derby with lots of players involved who’ve had many battles alongside and against each other and not just in South Africa.
Wayne Parnell and David Bedingham both had stints in the County circuit in England where they undoubtedly came across Stiaan van Zyl and Hardus Viljoen, who are currently on the books of the Rocks. Boland could add another former Kolpak contractee to their side, in Kyle Abbott, who was working out with the Paarl side this week.
Division 1: Boland vs WP; EP vs Central Gauteng; North West vs Free State; Northerns vs KZN
Division 2: Easterns vs Limpopo; Northern Cape vs KZN Inland; SWD vs Mpumalanga