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Cricket | RAM SLAM T20 Challenge

Geoffrey Toyana © Gallo Images

Lions aim to build on rollicking start



It has been a rollicking start to the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge for the bizhub Highveld Lions after winning their opening three matches and they will be looking to make it four in a row when they host the Chevrolet Warriors at Senwes Park on Sunday.

Geoffrey Toyana’s men pulled off a remarkable win over the Sunfoil Dolphins on Friday night when they won by seven runs at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead to stretch their advantage to an already healthy six-point lead at the summit of the table.

Their start is very much reminiscent to that of their Momentum One-Day Cup campaign when four victories at the outset put them on the road to clinching the No 1 spot after the league phase and an automatic berth in the final.

“I think it’s very important to get those wins (under the belt early),” Toyana said after his side defended a modest 129 all out at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. “It’s a long competition and the league will only start taking shape after seven games or so.

“We’ll keep going because it’s quite important to keep that winning culture.”

The bizhub Highveld Lions coach displayed an element of surprise as he pondered over their latest win.

It had come despite his team throwing away a healthy batting position of 78 for three after 10 overs to then lose their remaining six wickets for 12 runs and collapse in 18.2 overs.

“I don’t know how we won the last game,” he said. “We got out of

Jail big time. I don’t think we had any business winning it and we stole the result based on an outstanding bowling display.”

At the same time the Chevrolet Warriors received a five-wicket thumping from the Nashua Titans after posting a lowly 120 in Port Elizabeth.

Toyana warned, though, that it will not be an east assignment against the Eastern Cape franchise. “They’re a quality side and we can’t afford to underestimate anyone in this competition,” he added. “We’ll have to start again against them, go back to the drawing board once again and talk about things like our batting, which I thought was very poor (in the last game).”

Ahead of the match at Senwes Park, visiting assistant coach Adrian Birrell defended their performance on Friday, explaining defeat was only as a result of a spectacular Albie Morkel knock – the Proteas allrounder plundered 46 from 17 deliveries to take the Nashua Titans home with 11 deliveries to spare.

He was confident the Chevrolet Warriors, who won their opening match against the Chevrolet Knights, could bounce back immediately, though saying: “They’re obviously a team that’s playing well, they’re in form and full of confidence.

“But we haven’t got a bad side ourselves. We have a good all-round squad and some dangerous players in the team. “It will be good to beat them in their own patch.”

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