After registering impressive wins in the opening round, titleholders the Diamond Eagles and the Highveld Lions will be marked teams when the second round of Supersport Series cricket matches get under way on Thursday.
The Diamond Eagles, who defeated the Cape Cobras in three days last weekend on what Cobras coach Shukri Conrad has described as a sub-standard pitch, are in Port Elizabeth for a clash with the Warriors,while the Lions are also on the road, taking on the Dolphins in Durban.
In the round’s third match, the Titans host the Cobras in Benoni. There was a massive downpour in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday morning andwith the chance of further rain predicted, the conditions for theWarriors-Diamond Eagles clash could be affected. These sides ended one and two in last season’s four-day competition and with the Warriors boosted by the rare availability of fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, they will be keen to make an impact against the champions.
Warriors skipper Davy Jacobs will be calling for a better batting effort from a potentially powerful unit after they failed to get going in theiropening loss to the Lions. They will need to be sharp against a Diamond Eagles attack led by Dillondu Preez who are well equipped to capitalise on any advantage the SaharaOval St George’s pitch may offer them.
The Lions, with leading batsman Neil McKenzie back at the helm, willneed to be on their toes against the Dolphins at Kingsmead. The home side had a frustrating time last weekend when rain ruined any chance of a result in their clash with the Titans.They’ll be itching to get something going against the Lions, althoughtheir batting depth will be severely tested. HD Ackerman and Jon Kentare not available for this match and Hashim Amla remains on the injuredlist. With Alviro Petersen showing excellent early season form and McKenzi eback, the Lions will be full of confidence.
Furthermore, a fast bowler called Andre Nel will be itching to prove something to the national selectors. The Cape Cobras welcome back Herschelle Gibbs for their clash with theTitans and they’ll be hoping he can lift them in the fielding department.
The Cobras dropped several catches in the slips cordon last weekend,which coach Conrad said cost them dearly.Gibbs brings class to both the batting and fielding disciplines. The Titans have Albie Morkel back in their squad and he should make a difference, while their spin duo of Imran Tahir and Paul Harris will bea constant threat to the Cobras batsmen.
The squads and fixtures are:
Dolphins v Highveld Lions in Durban (9.30am start)
Dolphins: Ahmed Amla (captain), Imraan Khan, David Miller, Grant Rowley,Rivash Gobind, Pierre de Bruyn, Daryn Smit, Johann Louw, Quinton Friend,Ugasen Govender, Yusuf Abdullah, Saidi Mlongo.
Highveld Lions: Neil McKenzie (capt), Craig Alexander, Werner Coetsee, Andre Nel, Jean Symes, Alviro Petersen, Stephen Cook, MatthewHarris, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Garnett Kruger, Cliffie Deacon, Jonathan Vandiar.
Warriors v Diamond Eagles in Port Elizabeth (10am start)
Warriors: Davy Jacobs (capt), Arno Jacobs, Michael Smith, Justin Kreusch, Makhaya Ntini, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Johan Botha, Zander de Bruyn, Jon-Jon Smuts, Robin Peterson, Juan Theron, Ashwell Prince.
Diamond Eagles: Boeta Dippenaar (captain ), Dean Elgar, Ryan Bailey,Morne van Wyk, Rilee Rossouw, Victor Mpitsang, Dillon du Preez, Reeza Hendricks, CJ de Villiers, Thandi Tshabalala, Con de Lange, Loots Bosman.
Titans v Cape Cobras in Benoni (10am start):
Titans: Pierre Joubert (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis, Blake Snijman, Heino Kuhn, Gulam Bodi, Morne Morkel, Basheer Walters, Albie Morkel, Martin van Jaarsveld, Ethy Mbhalati, Imran Tahir, Rushdi Jappie, Paul Harris.
Cape Cobras: Andrew Puttick, Herschelle Gibbs, Henry Davids, JP Duminy,Justin Ontong (capt), Vernon Philander, Ryan Canning, Rory Kleinveldt,Claude Henderson, Willem du Toit, Charl Langeveldt, Stiaan van Zyl.
The standings after one round are: Highveld Lions 17,1; Diamond Eagles 16,42; Warriors 8,32; Dolphins 7,4; Titans 5,22; Cape Cobras 3.