Lions expect tough battle against champion Knights

bizhub Highveld Lions coach, Geoffrey Toyana

bizhub Highveld Lions coach, Geoffrey Toyana

bizhub Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana has predicted a tough round four Sunfoil Series encounter for his side when they lock horns with the reigning champions VKB Knights at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom from Monday.

Both teams, like every other one in the competition, are yet to taste victory this season, meaning the top of the table is a log-jam heading into what is the penultimate match before the halfway stage – and a break in the four-day season.

The Knights are second at present with the Lions fifth and Toyana is expecting a difficult encounter. “We've got two home matches now starting with Potch on Monday,” he said. “It's a big game considering we're up against the champions.

“They are a side that really plays well, they play a brand of positive cricket and that's why they won it last year. You would have seen their scores as well this year and they have some really good players in their fold.

“Rudi Second, Pite van Biljon and then someone like Keegan Petersen has also been excellent for them. Their bowling has been bolstered by Merchant and now Duanne (Olivier) is back as well.

“Then there's Eddie Leie who will want to prove a point against his former team, so they are a really strong side.”

However, Toyana is confident they will be ready for the challenge of the Knights.

“We've prepared well though,” he stated. “We realise that its close at the top and teams are fighting really hard this year.”

Kolpak player Hardus Viljoen is set to play his first game after returning from his stint in England. “His pace and experience will really help us,” Toyana added.

Knights coach Nicky Boje is not too fussed that results have not been forthcoming this year. Instead, he wants his players to continue doing what they have been doing during the opening three rounds of the campaign.

“I think the main thing is that we've got to keep focussing on what we need to do and the results at the end of the day will take care of themselves,” Boje said. “So we've just got to knuckle down and play good cricket as we have been trying to do so far.”

The Knights boss also felt that the adverse weather had too much of an effect in some of their games.

He added: “You've got to play the situation and you've got to play the conditions as they are.

“We've had a couple of games now where there's been quite a lot of rain in the game. When that happens, it's not easy to force the result.

“The guys are hungry to play cricket and hungry to win, so as long as they have that, I think the chance to win will come. It will be the same against the Lions, we'll be going there to try and win the game.”