Lions begin one-day title defence against the Warriors

Stephen Cook of the Lions

Stephen Cook of the Lions

DEFENDING champions, the bizhub Highveld Lions are looking forward to begin the defence of their Momentum One-Day Cup title against the Warriors at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The hosts were the stand-out team in last season’s competition and come up against opponents that have traditionally been stronger in limited-overs cricket compared to the four-day game.

“We’ve played well in this format in the last couple of years, so the boys are really looking forward to it,” Lions coach, Geoffrey Toyana said. “They trained hard this week and really want to hit the ground running on Sunday against the Warriors.”

The home side had a disappointing end to the Sunfoil Series when they were hammered by eventual-champions VKB Knights in the last round.

“It was disappointing, but that’s now in the past,” Toyana added.

Eddie Leie, Wiaan Mulder and Hardus Viljoen are all out injured, while Dwaine Pretorius is away on national duty. Standard Bank Proteas duo, Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma are both available and the Lions have also kept Beuran Hendricks on loan from the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

The Warriors have enjoyed a fairly good season to date. Despite ending last in the Sunfoil Series, they competed well throughout and were still in the competition until the final round, while they narrowly ended runners-up in the T20 Challenge.

“It’s a different challenge in a different format, one we’ve done reasonably well in,” coach Malibongwe Maketa stated. “So from that point of view, we’re really looking forward to it.

“We want to go out there and make sure we start well. It’s what helped us in the T20 competition where we created momentum by the good start and that’s what we want to do.”

Jon-Jon Smuts returns to captain the team, while Colin Ingram is also available after returning to full fitness.

HEAD TO HEAD – bizhub Highveld Lions v Warriors

Matches Played 24
Lions Win 10
Warriors Win 11
No Result 03