JOHANNESBURG, February 25, 2023 – After a pleasing performance against the second-placed Dafabet Warriors, DP World Lions coach Wandile Gwavu would love to keep the same side together for Sunday’s CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match against Six Gun Grill Western Province at the DP World Wanderers Stadium, but Proteas call-ups mean he has to make at least four changes.

Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton and Wiaan Mulder all contributed well against the Warriors, who fought out a draw on the final day, but they will be at SuperSport Park in Centurion as members of the national squad for the first Test against the West Indies.

Gwavu has able replacements, however, with Evan Jones, Codi Yusuf and Wandile Makwetu returning from doing duty for the SA Invitation XI against the West Indies and white-ball Proteas Reeza Hendricks and Sisanda Magala also back in the squad.

The Lions were under pressure for a short while against the Warriors, but Rickelton held together the lower-order and scored a superb century as the Central Gauteng team showed their mettle. On the final day, they almost had the visitors pinned down with seven wickets down and a lead of 192 an hour after lunch, but the pitch did not break up as much as they hoped and the Eastern Province team managed to bolt to safety courtesy of Matthew Breetzke’s unbeaten century.

With the Lions now 32 points behind leaders Western Province, who have played an extra match, a win with two games to go after this round would put Gwavu’s men back in contention for the title.

The coach said he was hoping for a riveting encounter and for his team to just find that little bit of extra ruthless execution that will bring them their second win of the campaign.

“We always want to play positive cricket and we want result pitches, but sometimes the weather doesn’t play along, and without that rain washing out the second afternoon we might well have been able to push for a result against the Warriors. But I thought it was a good effort all round,” Gwavu said.

“Playing against the leaders is going to provide us with a good opportunity to move up the log and I’m sure it’s going to be hard-fought, exciting cricket. If we continue to put in the hard work and execute our basics well, then we are going to reap the reward sooner rather than later,” Gwavu said.

Even though the absence of leading run-scorer Rickelton is going to be a blow, the Lions are still going to rely on their powerful top-order to lay a solid foundation. Openers Josh Richards (averaging 83.50) and Dominic Hendricks (77.50) are both in top form, and no-one needs to be reminded of Reeza Hendricks’ class.

The Lions will bring a tried and tested bowling attack to the party with Magala, Lutho Sipamla and Malusi Siboto a quality trio of seamers who are particularly effective at the DP World Wanderers.

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