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Cricket | Sunfoil Series 2017/18

Ashwell Prince © Gallo Images

Prince expects tough Lions battle



World Sports Betting Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince is expecting a difficult Sunfoil Series examination against the bizhub Highveld Lions when the two begin their clash at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl from Thursday.

The visitors are the only side to have lost a match this season and have, in fact, lost two in the past two rounds. They are bottom of the table, but remain alive in the competition due to the fact that no side has won more than once.

The Cobras have done neither – neither have they won or lost in 2017/18 – with their six draws leaving them fourth on the table ahead of round seven.

They drew with the log-leading Multiply Titans in their last match, a result that did not please Prince too much.

“It wasn’t a good result because at the end of the game we had the upper hand for most of it,” he reflected. “The weather cost us because we couldn’t play on the afternoon of day three and then play was limited on day four. So, it wasn’t a good result for anybody, especially for us.”

The Cobras are a little under 13 points off the leaders, while the Lions are 30 points off the number one spot.

Prince is expecting a tough battle in the game and also predicts that the season will go right down to the wire.

“Look we fancy our chances against any team in the country, but you have to pitch up at a game, you have to play well, you have to apply pressure because no game is played on paper,” he added. “You can’t win on paper.

“You have to go out there and do everything you can to push for a result and apply pressure for long periods like we did against the Titans. We applied pressure for a longer period and had the upper hand in the game.

“In terms of the season, I think it will go right down to the wire because all the teams are tight. The Titans have got one win and the Warriors one win and then all other teams are only one win behind them. So, from that perspective, we’re not a long way behind.”

Lions boss Geoffrey Toyana has seen their season go from bad to worse. After a solid start to the Sunfoil Series, they lost the last match before the break and then went on to endure a horrible white-ball campaign where they failed to make the playoffs.

But they appeared on course to win on their return to four-day action but bottled a low 161-run chase against the Warriors in the first game back.

“We’ve just not played the pressure situations well this season,” Toyana said. “And that is what it all boils down to.

“Not to chase 160 on day three was very disappointing. It was not good enough and we’ll hope to now pick ourselves up again this week.

“We’re under pressure to perform and we have to. My players are still working extremely hard, the mood is still upbeat and hopefully we can turn the corner.”

The Cobras squad is: Dane Piedt (capt), Michael Cohen, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, George Linde, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Jason Smith, Stiaan van Zyl, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.



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