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Ken Borland

Times of heartache enable composed Lions to turn final around – Hendricks

Posted on May 07, 2024 by Ken

The DP World Lions men’s team have had their times of heartache this season, which is why when the CSA 4-Day Series final looked like being a grave disappointment for them, they had the desire, composure and ability to turn things around, according to captain Dominic Hendricks.

Having been 35 for five on the first morning and 113 for six in their second innings, leading by just 26, it was an absolutely remarkable effort for our #PrideOfJozi to beat Western Province by 99 runs and claim their first four-day title since 2019/20.

“Talk about a game turning 180 degrees,” Hendricks said, “We had to dig in super-deep and really fight. Our backs were against the wall for 80% of that game, so I’m massively proud of the team for winning.

“But there have been numerous times this season when we’ve had to really dig in, there’ve been lots of difficult situations we’ve been put in: Like having to bowl for 225 overs against the Rocks, going to Newlands and losing the toss and having to bat first on a spicy pitch against Western Province, and going to St George’s Park and having to play on a very tricky wicket.

“It’s testament to what we’ve created as a team. We get stuck in and if it’s your day, then you must make it spectacular,” the ecstatic Hendricks said.

The Lions skipper praised head coach Russell Domingo for the wonderful environment he has forged for our Pride to prosper. The former Proteas and Bangladesh coach never throws his toys out of the cot, but there is immense respect for him and the rest of the star-studded coaching line-up.

“Russell has a phenomenal approach. The game is so high-pressured anyway, so he always tries to take the pressure off us. He cracks jokes in the changeroom, but when he speaks we really do listen and he is the first to point out any nonsense and put us back in line.

“Hashim Amla has a very calm aura, he also always speaks to us in a good tone and with understanding. If a player makes a mistake, then the coaches never give you an uitkak, but they talk about what we ought to have done to execute better,” Hendricks said.

The opening batsman also highlighted the top-class batting of Delano Potgieter in setting up the heady triumph with phenomenal rearguard innings of 81 and 155 not out.

“Delano’s innings and all the lower-order chipping in, particularly Codi Yusuf (46), took the sting out of Western Province, you could see how frustrated they were and they fielded for each of the first four days.

“It says a lot about Delano that he was super-nervous before the final, he’s an anxious guy before matches. But once he settled, he looked right at home. We were in a world of trouble, but he dug in and batted and batted and batted,” Hendricks said.

Winning the prestige four-day title was a tremendous team effort by everyone at the DP World Wanderers Stadium though, a fact highlighted by a delighted Domingo.

“Hashim, Allan Donald and myself are all experienced enough to know that it’s not just the coaches that win trophies. We are just a small part of the puzzle; you need great players, a great CEO and support staff; the selectors, groundsmen, directors – everyone plays an important tole,” Domingo said.

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