Lions are itching to bounce back

Cape Town - Assistant Highveld Lions coach Wandile Gwavu is looking for a strong reaction from his team when they come up against the Warriors in the second match of their One-Day Cup campaign at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The hosts lost a high-scoring opening match of the campaign to the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend, while the visitors overcame the Cape Cobras in their first game.

“We were disappointed we lost the match, but we sat down and took mainly positives from the defeat,” Gwavu explained. “It was a high-scoring match chasing nearly 350 and could have gone either way at the end.

“We’re back home now for the next game against the Warriors and definitely looking forward to it.”

Enoch Nkwe’s men could have been forgiven for still being hungover after winning the 4-Day Domestic Series title the previous week. But the Lions’ number two insisted there was no such thing in the changeroom. “I don’t think so, we played some good cricket in that game in pockets,” he said.

“The batting was good overall, but the fielding and our bowling was not up to scratch.

“That’s why we’re looking so much towards the next game to try and improve on those aspects. Chasing such a high total doesn’t happen every day, but I think we gave it a good go.”

Looking ahead to taking on the Warriors, who shared the title with the Dolphins last season, Gwavu added: “We respect each and every opponent we face, and the Warriors will be no different.

“They are the joint defending champions and made a good start, but we’ll focus on our game and try to improve on the areas we were not so good at in the last game.”

Opposite number Mfuneko Ngam, meanwhile, concedes it will be a big test for the young Warriors squad on the Highveld.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” he said. “If you look at their team, all their Proteas are back and that makes them even stronger. They’re in good form too, even though they lost the opening game, so we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”

Ngam, though, hoes they can build on their opening performance and continued their good start to the 50-over campaign.

“At least we got some momentum behind us after winning that first game,” he added. “The basics are most important and that’s what we’ll need to get right from the start if we want to give ourselves the best chance of coming through.”