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Ken Borland


Lions hunting intensity like a dieter trying to increase metabolism

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

Like a dieter trying to increase their metabolism, our DP World Lions men’s team have been hunting increased intensity in the field in the CSA T20 Challenge and the Pride certainly reached their goal in the Western Cape over the last week.

An impressive and commanding nine-wicket win over the Boland Rocks last weekend in Paarl was followed on Wednesday night by an even more tremendous, record-breaking triumph over Western Province at Newlands.

On a memorable evening for the #PrideOfJozi, they hammered WP by 132 runs, the biggest ever victory margin in the history of the competition. Having scored 213 for two, their highest ever T20 total against their traditional rivals, the DP World Lions then bundled the home side out for just 81. The record-breaking effort erases the Lions’ own previous mark for the heaviest defeat, having been beaten by 130 runs by the Eagles in Potchefstroom in 2004/5.

Having now secured second place with a five-point lead over Western Province, it all sets the DP World Lions up beautifully for their clash with the HollywoodBets Dolphins in Johannesburg on Friday night.

While there were superb individual performances from Ryan Rickelton (73 off 46), Reeza Hendricks (90 off 49), Lutho Sipamla (3-1-14-3) and Nqaba Peter (2.3-1-7-4 – the third-best figures ever for the Lions) in Cape Town, coach Russell Domingo was delighted by the lift in intensity by the team as a whole.

“We’ve been wanting to play to our standards and intensity. We have a lot of internationals in our team and with small crowds it can be challenging for them because they’re used to thousands of spectators. So we’ve tried to match our intensity to our own standards and we were crazy good with both bat and ball at Newlands and the fielding was really superb,” Domingo said.

“But the Dolphins have a formidable side with in-form batsmen, pace bowlers and spinners. They beat us in Durban and we’re going to have to be on top of our game, focusing on how we control the game.”

Rickelton and Hendricks, who put on an outstanding 151 for the first wicket – a record for Newlands, have now both climbed into the top six of the batting averages with over 250 runs to their names; only Rubin Hermann of the Dragons has scored more.

Rassie van der Dussen (29* off 18) and Delano Potgieter (14* off 7) then provided the finishing touches to the record total.

“It was good to see the batting fire after what has been a strange campaign with us not batting first a lot and having to chase several low scores. Reeza and Ryan batted superbly and they are both quality batsmen. They are finding a way to get substantial scores now that we’re in the crucial stages of the competition,” Domingo said.

Lutho Sipamla and Tshepo Moreki then backed up the batting effort by bowling superbly with the new ball, reducing WP to 38 for four in the powerplay, Sipamla being rewarded with career-best figures.

“Lutho and Tshepo were fantastic and they bowled really good Test lengths, they were aggressive and the pitch did a bit at night. I anticipate the DP World Wanderers wicket also doing a bit against the Dolphins, there’s a bit of rain around, it’s late in the season and there’s a chill in the air. We’ll have to assess and adapt to that as well,” Domingo said.

With the increased pressure, Peter ripped through the remaining batsmen, baffling them with his flat leg-spin and changes of pace. Following on from his three for 14 against the Rocks, the 22-year-old has now taken seven wickets for 38 runs in eight-and-a-half overs and is top of the bowling averages.

“Nqaba bowled brilliantly, his discipline and control was really good,” Domingo said. “He only took up leg-spin a couple of years ago, so it is still a new art for him and he has a long way to go, but he is a really promising talent. He has coaches around him who have learnt from the very best leg-spinners, they give Nqaba feedback in terms of how they were set up as batsmen and he is understanding the nuances of the skill,” Domingo said.

Having kept Western Province in third place on the log, the DP World Lions will now be out to ensure the Dolphins stay fourth, currently 11 points behind them. A third victory in a row for our Pride will also close the gap on the log-leading Warriors to just a handful of points.

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