Tomorrow’s stars clash today

2010-03-12 00:00

Ingram (24), otherwise known as ‘Bozie’, has burst onto the scene this season, topping the batting charts in the MTN40 and Pro20 series.

He has hit the most sixes in the Pro20 Series (14), and has earned a call-up to the SA provisional Twenty20 World squad.

Highest score: 82

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTWITHSTANDING that the hit-and-giggle version of cricket shouldn’t really be compared with matters as serious as the Bible, tonight’s Pro20 decider between the power-packed Warriors and the crafty Lions is as David-and-Goliath as it gets.

The Lions, ravaged by form and infighting in the early stages of the competition, turned the corner just in time to sneak into the semis, where they promptly destroyed a more fancied Titans unit.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have bullied their way through the round-robin stages and are overwhelming favourites to add the Pro20 loot to their MTN40 Championship haul.

But as long-suffering Proteas fans well know, it’s not the getting to the final that counts — it’s the way you play on the day.

The Lions’ incisive batting display against a Titans attack comprising Steyn, Morkel and Mbhalathi sent out a clear message as to just how talented these Gautengers are.

Tonight, in front of a packed Port Elizabeth crowd, the Lions will seek to take one step further and win the whole lot.

If that seems fanciful, just try saying so to coach Dave Nosworthy.

“We quite enjoy the David-and-Goliath situation,” the Lions minder said yesterday.

“We’ve played under pressure the whole summer and we have responded well to it. We play the ball, not the man.”

On paper, it is certainly a tale of men against boys, but such is the nature of Twenty20 cricket that reputations will go out the window as soon as Thami Tsolekile utters “heads or tails”.

The Warriors have a host of Proteas back in the side, but for inspiration you need look no further than one Colin Ingram.

He has had a blissful batting summer, and shows no sign of slowing down. But the national selectors will be concerned with his temperament on the big stage, where the likes of Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher draw the limelight.

Ingram is certainly not the only promising player. Don’t believe the nonsense these lazy hacks feed you about South African cricket’s lack of depth.

In this match alone, he is joined by Jonathan Vandiar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who are real talents on the domestic circuit. All three are left-handed, and they all accumulate runs with the same enthusiasm that our municipality rattles up debt!

In truth, the national players should have sat this one out.

For the second time in a few weeks, several young Warriors have got their side to the showpiece and then had to step aside for the big boys.

When one considers that the Proteas have been playing non-stop since December, and that most of them will pull a Cinderella move to India as soon as tonight’s dance is over, it may not have been a bad idea to give them the night off.

Bleating aside, the signs all point to a titanic battle between the Warriors’ bowlers and the Lions’ smash-and-grabbers.

Vandiar and Neil McKenzie have formed a happy alliance at the top, and they will be dead keen to continue that tonight.

If — and this is a big if — the Lions reach the heights that they previously scaled against the Titans, who were admittedly dishing up some poor cricket fare at the time, we may have a real humdinger on the cards.

The young Lions’ attack will also have the unenviable task of containing the Warriors’ arsenal of big hitters.

It is a frightful scenario, but the Lions seem to smile in the face of danger with the cheerfulness of a serial mugging victim.

This is not their first picnic, and they are hellbent on showing that they have every right to be at tonight’s top table.

So while the IPL launches itself halfway across the world, South African cricket fans will have cause to be distracted for at least one night.

Some of the country’s most talented starlets will strut their stuff at St George’s tonight and, ironically, both teams are already winners. They have secured entry to the lucrative Champions League by virtue of being tonight’s combatants, and with that pressure off, we can but hope that the shackles come off in a flurry of boundary-bashing.

And unlike the biblical scene, let’s just hope that Goliath doesn’t tumble over at the first onslaught.

Still just 19, ‘Van’ is a product of KZN cricket, and is a loss still keenly felt by the Dolphins.

Free-scoring and stylish, Vandiar has found his form at just the right time, with his brisk half-century against the Titans setting up the Lions’ semi-final triumph.

Highest score: 68

WARRIORS:

Jacques Kallis

Wayne Parnell

Rusty Theron

Colin Ingram

Robbie Frylinck:

Lions (13 wickets)

Ethan O’ Reilly:

Lions (11)

Makhaya Ntini:

Warriors (10)

LIONS:

Neil McKenzie

Jonathan Vandiar

Vaughn van Jaasrveld

Aaron Phangiso

Lions:

186/5 vs Titans (won)

Lions:

184/6 vs Eagles (won)

Colin Ingram: Warriors (260 runs, 141.3 strike rate)

Vaughn van Jaarsveld: Lions (234 runs, 141.8)

Neil McKenzie: Lions (180 runs, 113.2)

PHOTOS: GALLO

Warriors

Davy Jacobs (captain), Justin Kreusch, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Nicky Boje, Rusty Theron, Craig Thyssen, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Johan Botha, Wayne Parnell an Lonwabo Tsotsobe

 

Highveld Lions:

Aarson Phangiso, Alviro Petersen, Dane Vilas, Ethan O’Reilly, Jonathan Vandiar, Neil McKenzie, Richard Cameron, Robbie Frylinck, Shane Burger, Thami Tsolekile (captain), Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Werner Coetzee and Zander de Bruyn.

STANDARD BANK PRO20 SERIES FINAL

TV: SUPERSPORT 2 FROM 5.30 PM

PLAY STARTS AT 6 PM

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