Lions desperate to improve with the willow

Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is desperate for a batting improvement when his side takes on the high-flying Knights in the third round of the Sunfoil Series starting at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Thursday.

The men from Johannesburg have not crossed 200 once yet in the four innings they have faced, although they did manage 160/0 in a low-scoring affair they won against the Cape Cobras in their first game.

They were demolished by the Dolphins in their second game in Potchefstroom and their coach is desperate for an improvement in the Northern Cape.

Toyana said: “It was a tough one on a tough Potch wicket but that doesn’t hide the fact of our disappointing batting.

“It is the major concern for me. We’ve not put the right numbers forward and in the two games we have only managed one batting point. We’ve chatted about it as a group and it’s something we have to improve on.”

In terms of opposition, they don’t come too much tougher than the Knights, who have won both matches so far to sit second on the table behind the Dolphins.

Toyana added: “It will be tough against a side that has won two out of two, but we’re in Kimberley where we’ve had success in the past. But we need out batters to come to the party.

To make matters worse for the Lions, captain Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma, both key batsmen, are away with the Proteas. Nicky van den Berg, Dwaine Pretorius and Aya Miyoli are in contention to play.

The hosts, meanwhile, have drafted in David Miller for Pite van Biljon.

Despite their excellent start to the campaign, their coach Nicky Boje is taking little for granted:  “We’ve had two good wins to start the season and the guys are taking a lot of confidence from those wins.

“But we need to build on that and continue playing our brand of cricket, so that for us is the main focus.

“We’re not looking too much at the opposition at this stage, but focussing on what we need to get done.”

Knights squad: Michael Erlank, David Miller, Luthando Mnyanda, Mbulelo Budaza, Theunis de Bruyn, Marchant de Lange, Dillon du Preez, Tshepo Ntuli, Duanne Olivier, Robin Peterson, Rudi Second, Lotli Sesele, Shadley van Schalkwyk.

Highveld Lions squad: Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Dominic Hendricks, Nicky van den Bergh, Kagiso Rapulana, Dwaine Pretorius, Mangaliso Mosehle, Wiaan Mulder, Bjorn Fortuin, Hardus Viljoen, Aya Miyoli, Sean Jamison, Nono Pongolo.