Lions go in as favourites against Titans in what is expected to be a high-scoring affair!
Lions to win!
The 25th match of the Momentum One-Day Cup will see Lions taking on Titans at Johannesburg on Sunday. There are only a few matches before the knock-out matches and hence all these fixtures become really important for qualification.
The hosts' Lions are in a pretty good situation as they have won five of their seven games until now. Although they lost the last game against Dolphins, it is unlikely that Lions will miss out on qualification. In that match against Dolphins, Lions came up with a poor effort as they only managed to post 244 after being asked to bat first. It was only Wihan Lubbe’s 85 and Nicky van den Bergh’s 42-run knock that helped Lions reach a respectable total. Even though Dolphins lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase, the duo of Senuran Muthusamy and Robbie Frylinck saw their team home with a 72-run partnership.
Their opponent for the next match, Titans also lost their previous game against Warriors. With Tony de Zorzi hammering a superb century and Dean Elgar coming up with a 93-run knock, Titans did well to score a mammoth 331 but it didn’t turn out to be enough in the end.
Titans did get back into the game after dismissing the Warriors top-order who had made merry of the conditions but Sisanda Magala’s 18-ball 27 turned out to be the decisive inning as his team won with a solitary ball to spare.
Lions boast a pretty strong batting line-up which includes the likes of Ryan Rickelton, Nicky van den Bergh, Wihan Lubbe and Delano Potgieter. While Rickelton is the top-scorer, 383 runs until now, van den Bergh and Lubbe have also done well to contribute 267 and 263 runs respectively.
The luxury for Lions is the fact that they also have prolific run-scorer Reeza Hendricks available for the remaining matches. Bowling-wise, Lions have been a bit more dependent on a few players. It has only been skipper Aaron Phangiso and Eldred Hawken who have crossed ten wickets for the season while the likes of Bjorn Fortuin and Johannes Diseko have only been steady customers.
Ryan Rickelton, Dominic Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Nicky van den Bergh (WK), Wihan Lubbe, Delano Potgieter, Bjorn Fortuin, Aaron Phangiso (C), Eldred Hawken, Johannes Diseko, Ayavuya Myoli
|N Van den Bergh||42||62||4||0||67.74|
Aaron Phangiso, Reeza Hendricks, Ryan Rickelton, Dominic Hendricks, NJ Van den Bergh, Wihan Lubbe, Bjorn Fortuin, Delano Potgieter, Eldred Hawken, Kagiso Rapulana, MP Siboto
A team that is usually so strong hasn’t been able to perform so well due to key players being unavailable. Still, like the Lions, Titans also have a cracking batting line-up with in-form batsmen like Tony de Zorzi and Dean Elgar who have scored 390 and 330 runs respectively ensuring that the team always puts up impressive totals on the board. Apart from this above-mentioned duo, Titans also have two-star players in the form of Aiden Markram and Faf du Plessis.
If this isn’t enough, the middle-order duo which consists of skipper Grant Thomson and Diego Rosier has also impressed in recent times. It is the bowling attack that really lacks any penetration and wicket-taking ability. Although off-spinner Imran Manack has bowled well to pick eight wickets, Titans haven’t had an out and out wicket-taker in the absence of Tabraiz Shamsi and Lungi Ngidi. The team will hope that Junior Dala and Corbin Bosch can step up for the game against Lions.
Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Grant Thomson (C), Diego Rosier, Rivaldo Moonsamy (WK), Corbin Bosch, Junior Dala, Imran Manack, Alfred Mothoa
|T de Zorzi||137||140||13||1||97.86|
Khwezi Gumede, Alfred Mothoa, Tony de Zorzi, Imran Manack, Farhaan Behardien, Dayyaan Galiem, GM Thomson, Aiden Markram, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Dean Elgar, Matthew Arnold
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||16||0 mm.||2.49 k/h||From: NE||49%|
|03h||15||0 mm.||1.36 k/h||From: NNW||65%|
|06h||18||0 mm.||1.14 k/h||From: NW||49%|
|09h||24||0 mm.||0.6 k/h||From: WNW||77%|
|12h||29||0 mm.||0.69 k/h||From: WNW||76%|
|15h||29||0 mm.||2.37 k/h||From: ENE||44%|
|18h||24||0 mm.||1.68 k/h||From: NW||66%|
|21h||21||0 mm.||1.91 k/h||From: N||63%|
Although the weather wasn’t great for the last game between Lions and Warriors, the batsmen still seemed to enjoy the conditions at the Highveld as the two teams nearly combined to score 500 runs in a rain-curtailed fixture. Similar batting conditions could be on offer for this match too.
Unlike the previous game, the forecast is much better for this game with a minimal 24% chance for thunderstorms later on in the day. AccuWeather expects a maximum temperature of 27-degree celsius.
This upcoming fixture between Lions and Titans will be just the third game of the season at the famous New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. So far, Lions have won both the matches to have been played against Knights and Warriors quite comfortably.
Although Lions have won both the games to have been played here this season by batting first, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to chase against Titans. The Wanderers surface is expected to stay true through the 100 overs.
In a battle between two batting-heavy teams, we are expecting Lions to end up on the victorious side. As mentioned before, there is not a lot to differentiate between the two batting line-ups but Aaron Phangiso and Eldred Hawken’s good bowling form is the decisive factor here.
If at all Titans are going to upset the odds, they would have to make the job easier for their bowlers by opting to chase.
Lions to win!