Sport / Cricket

Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
29 Oct 2021
6:25 am

Lions launch 4-Day Series ‘rivalry’ against Dragons

Ken Borland

Lions captain Dominic Hendricks believes batting is going to be hard work at the Wanderers this week.

Duanne Olivier will spearhead the Lions bowling attack against the Dragons. Picture: Getty Images

The Central Gauteng Lions will be bringing a top-class bowling attack to their opening CSA 4-Day Series match against the North-West Dragons on Friday and have promised a typically lively Wanderers pitch to add to what is bound to be a spicy affair against their former franchise teammates.

History suggests Duanne Olivier, who has taken 13 wickets at an average of 14 in his two Tests at the Wanderers, will be a handful as he leads an attack that will also include Lutho Sipamla, Sisanda Magala and Malusi Siboto, providing a daunting test of technique and nerve for the North-West batsmen.

“I expect a very intense match against North-West,” Lions coach Wandile Gwavu said on Thursday, “because there are some deep relationships between players who spent years and years in the same side, so there will be some emotion.

“But the most important thing is for us to concentrate on our skills, because that’s what will be tested. We’re not going to hide it, we’re not going to make it easy for the opposition at the Wanderers.

“We’ve only lost one four-day game here in the last two seasons, so it goes without saying that we have played some really good cricket here. Other teams can’t just come here and expect to get a result.”

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Lions captain Dominic Hendricks echoed his coach in saying batting was going to be hard work.

“I imagine it’s going to be tough for batsmen, with the overhead conditions and a pretty seam-friendly pitch. So if you get in, you have to make sure you cash in,” Hendricks said.

“It’s going to be a bit weird playing against some of our former teammates. They’re obviously guys who are disappointed not to be playing for us, so they’ll have a couple of points to prove. I think a new rivalry might be building, much like the one we have with the Titans.”

Speaking of the Titans, it is their batting that will be the focus when they host the Eastern Province Warriors in Centurion.

Although they made the final last season, the hosts are without the three batsmen who had the highest average last season – Aiden Markram, injured Dean Elgar and Heinrich Klaasen.

Nevertheless, they can bat deep with all-rounders Dayyaan Galiem, Simon Harmer and Chris Morris all named in the Northerns squad on Thursday.

The other Division I matches starting on Friday see Western Province hosting KZN Coastal and Boland Rocks visiting the Free State Knights.