Lions face early elimination

2013-09-29 14:00

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With two losses already, brilliant Otago could easily add more pain.

There’s only pride to play for for the Highveld Lions as they take on the Otago Volts in the Champions League T20 today.

Two losses from three games are enough to end any tournament participation, which could be the case for the Lions, who lost to the Mumbai Indians by seven wickets on Friday.

On a track with a greenish tinge, Geoffrey Toyana’s men never got going, with both the batting and bowling departments letting them down.

Before the Lions left for India, Toyana said things would be different for the team as they were no longer surprise packages in the competition.

This year, they have been the ones who have been caught in ambushes.

And should they lose to Otago today, they will almost certainly be joining the Perth Scorchers on the first flight out of Mumbai.

With the kind of form Otago have been in, a heavy defeat is the likeliest of possibilities.

After all, the New Zealand team are on a 14-match winning streak and if anything can be read into their massacre of the Scorchers earlier in the week, they are a very dangerous proposition.

It does help that the Lions have a decent bowling attack, which, on its day, can take apart any top order.

But with the kind of pace offered by Hardus Viljoen, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Sohail Tanvir, it’s the kind of pace that would feed Neil Broom’s penchant for sweeping attacks clean.

Broom is not the only power striker in a line-up that includes Derek de Boorder, Ryan ten Doeschate and Brendon McCullum, putting the Lions in grave danger should their pace men not find the mark early.

With Neil Wagner and Nathan McCullum, they have an all-round look to them in terms of their bowling attack.

The Lions will have to step up their game if they are to get a consolation victory.

The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, Rajasthan, has lent itself to massive run scoring, something Otago know well.

It is where Broom ransacked an unbeaten 117 runs against the Scorchers.

A win for Otago will all but secure them a semifinal spot, which will leave the home teams – Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians – to fight it out for the second spot.

If the Lions had beaten the Indians on Friday with the point garnered from the Scorchers’ washout, it could have been a potential entry point for a semifinal spot.

At this point, ifs and buts will not be sufficient for the South African domestic T20 champions.

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