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Ken Borland



Powerhouse Lions field top-class outfit for T20 opener 0

Posted on May 10, 2024 by Ken

A “powerhouse” DP World Lions men’s team are determined to claim a second trophy this season as they start their CSA T20 Challenge campaign against the GBets Rocks in Johannesburg on Friday night, and they will be fielding a top-class outfit.

The #PrideOfJozi boast a couple of players named in the Betway SA20 Team of the Tournament in Ryan Rickelton and Wiaan Mulder, there is a thrilling prospect of Kagiso Rabada and his protégé Kwena Maphaka sharing the new ball, and a wonderful batting line-up with other Proteas stars in Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma.

Apart from Rickelton and Mulder blazing a trail in the SA20, the DP World Lions are guided by a coach in Russell Domingo who has played a key role in the Sunrisers Eastern Cape winning back-to-back titles as their batting coach. The experienced Domingo will know exactly how to play winning T20 cricket in South Africa.

Rickelton, who was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 runs at an average of 58.89 and a strike-rate of 173.77, is setting a confident tone right up front.

“We will have a full squad, barring KG when he goes to the IPL, so we have a powerhouse team, obviously we’re going to put our names up for the overall win. We would be upset if we don’t get that far and we’re really looking forward to it after winning the four-day title, which was a big incentive for us because we haven’t won that in a while,” Rickelton said.

“While the tournament was obviously a major let-down for us at MI Cape Town, I have clarity about my batting. Coach Robbie [Peterson] was quite decisive about what he wanted us to do and we really strived to win the powerplay. So I had to execute my role as well as I can with Rassie, because of the power we had to come behind.

“The opportunity was there to really take the game on there up front, to really maximise the powerplay. I had the freedom to fail and I just tried to keep it simple, while training specifics. Now I want to make sure I make an impact for the Lions, that is hugely important for me,” Rickelton said.

All-rounder Mulder earned a spot in the SA20 Team of the Tournament mostly for his batting, where he averaged a healthy 37.13 and scored at a dynamic 157.14, continuing what has been a top-class summer with the bat. Mulder shone as a finisher, but also as a safeguard who could come in during the powerplay and lay a platform for the spectacular hitting of Heinrich Klaasen.

Mulder said he went into the competition with confidence, thanks to, again, the freedom given him by the DP World Lions coaches, and a clear job description from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener.

“Russell Domingo and Hashim Amla have been incredible for my game, they have really motivated me and allowed me to just go and play, to break the shackles. Because of them I took a lot of confidence into the SA20.

“I discovered a couple of new things about my game during the tournament. I worked really hard on playing spin and finishing, which is a part of the game Mark Boucher told me he didn’t think I had when he was Proteas coach. I spent quite a lot of time working with Heinrich and Dwaine Pretorius, but I’m never going to be that type of batter, having a perfect swing and getting carried away hitting sixes.

“But I can hit space and I can score different sorts of boundaries, I can still score 50 off 25 balls. Lance backs me quite a lot, my technique gave me the opportunity to bat in the top five and my role was to face quite a lot of balls and protect Heinrich. You can get some real jaffas in the powerplay, but you can play with a lot of freedom afterwards,” Mulder said.

With the players that the Lions have, playing at a fast-action venue like the DP World Wanderers Stadium, and with so many of them knowing exactly what to do to win T20 games, there is no reason why our Pride should not back themselves to bring home another trophy.

Times of heartache enable composed Lions to turn final around – Hendricks 0

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.

Tenacious & composed Lions emerge victorious in mad 4-day final 0

Posted on April 30, 2024 by Ken

In a mad 4-Day Series final that ended at the DP World Wanderers Stadium on Sunday, it was the #PrideOfJozi that stayed calm, fought with tremendous tenacity and emerged victorious with a 99-run win over Western Province.

In an epic final that swung in favour of one side and then the other, the DP World Lions men’s team managed to bowl World Sports Betting Western Province out for 208 on the final day, left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin taking five for 69 in 26 overs.

It was the most remarkable of turnarounds, considering the Lions were 35 for five after losing an important toss and having to bat first, under floodlights, on the first morning. Trailing by 87 runs on first innings, they were then 113 for six in their second innings before improbably making it to 394.

The hero with the bat in both DP World Lions innings was all-rounder Delano Potgieter, who scored 81 on the first day and a magnificent 155 not out in the second innings, one of the great performances in domestic finals.

“I am really proud of the whole squad,” triumphant coach Russell Domingo said. “It was a real squad effort because a guy like Mitchell van Buuren didn’t play in the final but was one of our leading run-scorers, Duanne Olivier one of our leading wicket-takers and Wandile Makwetu also made a big contribution.

“The guys fought extra hard in this final for those who weren’t playing, they dug really deep and I am so proud of them. We showed really good character, we had to be tough mentally, stick to our game-plans and fight hard. We had to stay calm.

“This will be a game we will think about in 20 years time and it’s one of the best wins I’ve experienced. I’ve been involved in some amazing wins – Bangladesh in New Zealand, the Proteas in Australia – and this is right up there,” the well-travelled Domingo said.

The DP World Lions head coach had special praise for Player of the Match Potgieter, who may have felt for most of the season that he was a player on probation. With Wiaan Mulder not being selected for the Proteas as much as he would have liked or the Lions expected, Potgieter’s appearances have been limited.

But coming in at the crucial back end of the campaign, the 27-year-old has made vital contributions in the four matches he has played, scoring 290 runs at an average of 96.66 and taking 11 wickets at 29.45.

“Delano was magnificent. He only played a few games but he did really well last week in Centurion and he brought that confidence here. He only came in because Wiaan couldn’t bowl and we needed that fourth seamer. And then he plays one of the best final innings you’ll ever see,” Domingo said.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” a beaming Potgieter said. “To have my career-best at the Wanderers, in a final, is next level. I feel amazing and I can’t really explain how it happened. I’m just so happy for the team and for myself.

“It’s been a hard season for me because I have not played much, but Hashim Amla [batting coach] said if I keep working hard then the rewards will come. And the final brought exactly that. But it’s amazing, what a time to do it when conditions were obviously not easy.

“But big credit to Wiaan, Codi Yusuf, Temba Bavuma, Bjorn and Malusi Siboto for batting with me so well. The lower-order, with Tshepo Moreki also scoring a fifty as nightwatchman, played an incredible role and I could not be more proud of them.

“It was a great win, unbelievable really and I could not be more happy to win a trophy in my first season back with the Lions, and it’s the hardest trophy to win,” Potgieter said.

Titans & Lions like bumper cars crashing into each other in crazy derby, before hosts scrape through 0

Posted on April 19, 2024 by Ken

Corbin Bosch hits out in a matchwinning hand for the Northerns Titans. Photo: Lee Warren.

Like bumper cars spinning and bashing into each other, the Northerns Titans and the Central Gauteng Lions went head-to-head in a crazy Jukskei Derby at SuperSport Park on Friday night, their thrilling CSA T20 Challenge clash ending in a last-ball victory for the home side.

Chasing a moderate 155 for victory, the Titans looked well on course when they reached 105 for four after 14 overs. But the leg-spin of Nqaba Peter and the hit-the-deck seam of Evan Jones saw them each take a pair of late wickets for the Lions to set up a nailbiting conclusion, especially with so much riding on the game.

If the Lions had won, they would have been guaranteed a home semi-final and probably a home final as well because, with the Warriors being shocked by the North-West Dragons in Potchefstroom, victory for them would have given them a five-point lead at the top of the standings with just Sunday’s round to play.

For the Titans, the win keeps them in fourth place, but now just three points ahead of Western Province, who beat the Boland Rocks by a bonus point in Paarl. So Sunday’s match between great rivals Northerns and WP at Newlands is to decide the last semi-final place. The Dolphins beat the Tuskers with a bonus point in the battle of the KwaZulu-Natal sides in Durban and can still finish in the top two if they beat the Warriors on Sunday.

Corbin Bosch was the hero for the Titans on Friday night, walloping 19 not out off 14 balls to see them home by two wickets; Reeza Hendricks was the villain for the Lions as he missed a routine stop at long-off in the penultimate over, conceding a boundary when it should only have been a single. The normally reliable boundary fielder seemed to want to let the ball bounce one more time and to his horror it squirmed between his legs and over the line.

That left Northerns with 10 runs to get off the final over, bowled by Codi Yusuf (4-0-25-1). A meaty pull for four by Bosch broke the back of the task, but they still needed a single off the last ball to win. Yusuf did his job by beating Bosch outside off-stump, but he and Lungi Ngidi managed to run a bye as both wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton and the bowler missed their throws at the stumps.

Wiaan Mulder had earlier had some car-crash moments of his own in the field, as he dropped a tough chance from opener Lhuan-dre Pretorius in the first over, and then conceded a boundary when the ball went through his legs.

But he came back excellently with the ball, conceding just 24 runs in his four overs and getting the wicket of Pretorius for a run-a-ball 29.

The Lions fielding also went through a magnificent patch when the in-form Rivaldo Moonsamy (24 off 15) was run out by a direct hit from point by Temba Bavuma, and Jack Lees (5) was run out by Jones. The visitors probably should have had a third run out when Jones scored another direct hit early in Neil Brand’s innings, but the TV umpire ruled not out even though replays suggested the Titans captain had his bat on the line but not over it.

Brand scored 29 off 27 balls, adding 34 for the fifth wicket with Dayyaan Galiem (26 off 12) to steer the game the Titans’ way. But then they were derailed by Peter (4-0-29-2) crashing through the attacking strokes of Galiem and David Wiese, bowling both of them in the 15th over.

Jones eventually had Brand caught at deep extra cover and then Junior Dala (8) at deep backward square-leg in the 18th over, but Bosch sent the ball whizzing off his bat and to the boundary three times in the closing overs to win the race to the line.

Earlier, the Central Gauteng side had been sent in to bat and found it difficult to accelerate as they posted 154 for eight, which seemed no more than par. Wiese once again shone with the ball with one for 22 in his four overs, while Galiem was also brilliant with one for 20 in four.

Hendricks and Bavuma (21 off 13) added 46 off 32 deliveries for the third wicket, and Hendricks went on to score a pugnacious 44 off 33 balls with four fours and a six. There were also useful contributions from Mulder (25 off 22) and Delano Potgieter (21 off 15). But, having added 29 off 20 balls, Potgieter was run out when Mulder called him through for a bye and the 18-year-old wicketkeepr Pretorius threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end.

Potgieter had already hit a couple of sixes and who knows how many more runs he would have added. The Lions tried to run a bye and it proved a costly mistake; the Titans did the same off the last ball of the match and it worked.

And that’s how narrow the margins were in this dramatic derby clash.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

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