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Cricket | RAM SLAM T20 Challenge

Geoffrey Toyana © Gallo Images

Toyana wants more from his bowlers



The bizhub Highveld Lions put their impressive run of form in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge to the test on Friday when they travel to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead to take on the Sunfoil Dolphins.

The Lions have notched up two impressive wins from their two matches to date, beating the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras by nine wickets before seeing off the defending-champion Nashua Titans by seven wickets.

What made the two victories all the more impressive was that different members of the team played vital roles in each match to ensure that the Lions secured the wins.

Coach Geoff Toyana explained that one of his team’s strengths was their ability to share the workload. “We have shared it about; we did the same in the Champions League T20. As a squad we have decided that we are not just going to rely on individuals and we, as a team, have to take responsibility to be successful.”

The Lions’ batting strength has been particularly impressive with Quinton de Kock scoring a century in the first game while Dwaine Pretorius and Neil McKenzie combined to see the Lions to victory over the Titans.

However, ominously for the rest of the teams in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge, Toyana believes that there is still room for improvement in his team’s bowling effort.

The Cobras scored 183 for five in a losing cause in Potchefstroom while Toyana felt that the Titans had scored about 18 runs too many at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday night.

“I’m not happy. We did bowl better (against the Titans) but we still made the same mistakes. On that wicket (against the Titans) 120 to 130 was about par. Our bowling is still a work in progress but we will have a chat about it,” he explained.

The Lions may have made a strong start to their season but they will not be underestimating the challenge that the Dolphins pose.

“The Titans hadn’t played a game and it worked to our advantage,”said Toyana. “Hopefully we can also catch the Dolphins cold. But they are an improved side under (coach) Lance Klusener and they will be a good team at home. I know how proud Lance and (captain) Daryn Smit are and it will be a tough challenge,” he said.

The Dolphins’ first match of the season was rained out and Klusener conceded that his team would be at a disadvantage with the Lions having played two matches already but he was happy that his team could rise to the challenge.

“It is a bit of a concern but I think it is a mindset thing. We had a chat about that this morning. It is about pitching up and wanting to play. There are a lot of distractions and things going on, on match day, but if we can get our minds around that we will be okay,” said Klusener.

Klusener said that the Lions looked like the team to beat in the T20 competition but believed that the Dolphins had what it takes to beat the early tournament front-runners.

“They are very experienced and they are going to provide some stiff opposition. We are looking forward to the challenge.

“I think if we can put them under pressure early, they aren’t used to being under pressure, so we will see if we can do that especially while they are batting then we can put their lower-order under pressure,” he explained.

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