Johannesburg - Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is desperate for his players to bounce back and end the year strongly with victory over the Dolphins in their One-Day Cup encounter at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The clash will draw the curtain on cricket for both sides in 2017, with the hosts determined as ever to make amends for their poor start to the competition in midweek.
The lions were thrashed by the Warriors in Johannesburg after being bowled out for just 209 in 39.5 overs, with the visitors cruising to a bonus-point win.
“It was a disappointing way to start the competition,” Toyana reflected. “We were really poor with the bat and to be bowled out with 10 overs remaining of a 50 over game is very disappointing.
“I thought the bowlers did well to have them four down, but it was never enough runs and we know we’ve fallen short.
“We’ve had a good discussion amongst the squad and everyone knows it was not good enough. It was a really poor performance and we know we need to bounce back in Potch.”
The Lions are one of the four teams that do play two matches before the festive break and have the opportunity to kick-start their campaign against a visiting team that won their first match by 26 runs against the Cape Cobras on Thursday.
“That’s very important to us, the ability to bounce back,” Toyana added. “I mean we know we’ve let our fans down and it’s key we make amends in the final match of the year, try and end the year well and have something positive to look forward to in the New Year.”
The Dolphins showed the Lions exactly how to bounce back from a disappointment when they did exactly that against the Cobras.
The Durbanites were thrashed by the Titans in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge final last Saturday, but hit back with a good start to their campaign.
It was one built around a sound batting display in Durban after strong half-centuries by Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Dane Vilas - both men falling just short of three figures - helped them post a record total of 315/7.
“The batsmen did really well,” Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo said. “Vaughn has been excellent over a number of years and he again proved that with his innings and Dane was striking the ball really well, which worked out well for us. It’s a good start for us.”
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
Dolphins squad: Khaya Zondo (captain), Morne Van Wyk, Sarel Erwee, Vaughn Van Jaarsveld, Dane Vilas, Sibonelo Makhanaya, Senuran Muthusamy, Cody Chetty, Calvin Cavage, Robbie Frylinck, Prenelan Subrayen, Smanga Nhlebela, Athi Maposa, Mthokozisi Shezi