Johannesburg - Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is hoping to
make amends for 20-over season disappointment by enjoying a more successful
50-over competition when they launch the One-Day Cup season against
the Warriors in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The clash is the first of the new campaign with most of the
teams set for two matches before the festive break.
The Lions begin against last season’s runners-up, who were
also losing semi-finalists in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge that was won by the Titans, at the Wanderers Stadium and then host the Dolphins in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
“They’ve really been a good limited-overs side over the past
couple of years,” Toyana said.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’ve always played
well against them at the Wanderers.
“And again, it’s key that we start well in a new competition
and hopefully it will be a good game.”
The hosts endured a largely disappointing 20-over season
where they showed plenty of promise, but ended up winning just two out of 10
games to finish second bottom of the table.
“We know we disappointed ourselves in the Twenty20 format
where I believe we played some really good cricket,” Toyana bemoaned.
hope to bounce back here.
“It’s a new competition with Stephen Cook back to take
charge, so we’re looking forward to it. We’re fresh, we’re excited and look
forward to the challenge.”
For the Warriors, the match marks the start of a new era
after the exit of coach Malibongwe Maketa, who has left to join the set-up.
His assistant, Rivash Gobind, has been placed in charge for
this competition and is looking forward to the opportunity.
“I'm really looking
forward to it,” he said.
“I’ve been here for a while now, so I understand how
the team works and that has made the transition so far.
“But now comes the hard part, although it’s really exciting
at the same time.”
The Warriors punched above their weight under Maketa and
reached both limited-overs finals last season.
Gobind says it is a trait they will look to carry forward
into this year as he looked forward to the Lions challenge.
“I don’t think it’s something we try to cultivate, we just
go about our business, respect everyone and I think we get the same respect
back from everyone else. They know how we play our cricket and know exactly
what they will get when they face us.
“We hope we can get the better of the Lions in the first
game. They’re a squad filled with very good players and it will be tough.”
South Africa Under-19 star Matthew Breetzke is amongst three
new faces in the Warriors squad, along with recent first-class record-breaker
Marco Marais, who score the fastest triple-hundred, and all-rounder Clayton
Hard-hitting batsman Ryan Rickelton is the new face in the
Lions squad: Stephen Cook (captain), Reeza
Hendricks, Omphile Ramela, Rassie van der Dussen, Wiaan Mulder, Dwaine Pretorius,
Aya Myoli, Ryan Rickelton, Nicky van den Bergh. Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn
Fortuin, Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Beuran Hendricks.
The Warriors squad is: Jon-Jon Smuts (captain), Gihahn
Cloete, Matthew Breetzke, Colin Ackermann, Yaseen Vallie, Christiaan Jonker,
Marco Marais, Lesiba Ngoepe, Andrew Birch, Sisanda Magala, Ayabulela Gqamane,
Clayton Bosch, Anrich Nortje.