T20 Domestic Cup
Lions opt for youthful edge
Johannesburg - The Highveld Lions have made four changes and added a youthful edge to their side as they attempt to finally register a RAM SLAM T20 win in Friday’s match against the Cape Cobras at the Wanderers.
While some of the changes were enforced by the unavailability of Proteas Test players, coach Geoffrey Toyana has made others with a view to freshening up the energy in the squad.
Pakistan seamer Sohail Tanvir and batsman Gulam Bodi have dropped out of the squad, as have Proteas players Alviro Petersen and Thami Tsolekile.
Stephen Cook, Temba Bavuma, Pumelela Matshikwe and Devon Conway have all come in, while Neil McKenzie will stand in as captain for the games on Friday and Sunday.
“We’ve played eight or 10 T20 matches if we count the Champions League Twenty20 as well, and we haven’t won one game,” said Toyana, “so the biggest motivation for us to just get back to winning ways.
“I’ve called up a few guys who have not had an opportunity so that they have a chance in the last two games.
"It’s always nice to see some fresh faces, who will bring new energy.
"Yes we’ve not played well this season, so we need some positives.”
It remains to be seen whether the changes will make life easier or harder for the Cobras, who can secure a home final if they win their final two games.
The Cobras currently lead the Sunfoil Dolphins by two points, meaning there is little room for error.
“It’s going to be a good challenge,” said Justin Ontong.
“I know the Lions haven’t had the campaign that they wanted but they’re still a quality outfit whom we respect, so it’s going to be a tough contest.
“They’re looking for their first win, and we just want to get back into that winning momentum seeing as we lost our last game.”
JP Duminy returns to the Cobras side after enjoying a rest, and Vernon Philander will be available for both games this weekend.
However, Hashim Amla’s involvement in the competition is over - he will spend the next week preparing for the upcoming Test series against Australia.