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Ken Borland



Lions roar to 1-Day Cup title, led by rampant batting 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

The Central Gauteng Lions, led by their rampant batting line-up, roared to a hat-trick of 50-over titles on Thursday night as they beat Western Province by 62 runs in the One-Day Cup final at the Wanderers.

With the top four all scoring half-centuries, the Lions raced to 358 for five in their 48 overs after being sent in to bat, the start of the final being delayed due to morning rain.

Paceman Lutho Sipamla then took five wickets as Western Province were bowled out for 296, but they would have been most frustrated by losing three wickets to the part-time off-spin of Reeza Hendricks, who finished with career-best figures of three for 18 in three overs.

Those three wickets put an end to whatever hopes were remaining for Western Province after a strong start. Hendricks came on to bowl with the visitors on 217 for three after 33 overs, needing 142 more runs off 90 balls.

Eddie Moore, who had shown his white-ball value with a run-a-ball 82, targeting the short boundary towards the grass embankment, moved into switch-hit position way too early, Hendricks fired a quicker, shorter delivery outside leg-stump and the cramped reverse-pull went straight to short third man.

Western Province’s obsession with the short boundary continued when, two balls later, Daniel Smith did the same thing. The youngster scored 24 off 29 balls, overdoing his attempts to sweep, both conventionally and reverse, when there were better scoring opportunities straight down the ground.

Earlier, Tony de Zorzi was once again rampant for Western Province at the top of the order, causing the Lions some anxiety with a great effort of 88 off 69 balls.

But Sipamla also took two wickets in an over, the 25th, when he had De Zorzi caught at long-on and then bowled an excellent first delivery to Zubayr Hamza, having him caught behind for a duck.

George Linde kept the visitors in with a slim shout as he belted 42 off 32 balls, before Malusi Siboto dismissed him and last man Nandre Burger off successive deliveries.

The Lions innings was constructed in excellent fashion with openers Josh Richards and Ryan Rickelton putting on 142 in 22 overs.

Richards began the onslaught by taking on the new ball and hammering nine fours and two sixes, but the in-form Rickelton was quickly underway too.

The left-handed wicketkeeper/batsman took over the aggressor’s mantle from Richards and scored freely in a fiery 75 off 63 balls, which included 14 fours, before he was bowled by left-arm spinner Linde.

Richards ploughed on though, adding another 71 in little more than 10 overs with Reeza Hendricks for the second wicket, before being superbly caught one-handed by Beuran Hendricks, diving full-length at wide mid-on, off Nandre Burger, for 94.

Reeza Hendricks maintained the Lions’ dominance though with a stroke-filled 69 off 64 balls, while Mitchell van Buuren turned the knife with a phenomenal 62 off just 36 deliveries.

Evan Jones provided the finishing touches to a record 50-over score for the Lions with his 30 off 16 balls.

Even on a brilliant batting pitch, the Lions had done enough to bat themselves out of reach of Western Province.

Signing of Delport & Jones loans formidable look to white-ball Lions 0

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Ken

The Central Gauteng Lions may have just won the One-Day Cup, but the signing of explosive batsmen Cameron Delport and Evan Jones, both of whom are also part-time seamers, loans an even more formidable look to their white-ball squads for 2022/23.

Despite their incredible, Reeza Hendricks inspired victory in the One-Day Cup final against the Northerns Titans, the Lions have taken a pragmatic view in their recruiting for next season. Losing most of their side to national call-ups, they struggled in the CSA T20 Challenge, finishing second-last, and they were certainly the underdogs in the 50-over final.

Although their four-day campaign ended in disappointment, finishing third after holding top spot for most of the competition, the fact that there are 30 promotion/relegation points on offer for limited-overs cricket and just 15 for the first-class game, has convinced the Lions to concentrate on the white-ball game.

They were in danger of being dragged into next season’s relegation battle before winning the One-Day Cup, but after 2021/22 they are now second, 12 points behind the Titans.

The 32-year-old Delport has been signed from the KZN Inland Tuskers and is a global T20 nomad who has scored more runs in the format than any other batsman who has not played for their country. The left-handed opener scores at a strike-rate of 139 in T20s and 105 in 50-over cricket.

The 25-year-old, Pretoria-born Jones averages 71 in first-class cricket and has a strike-rate of 95 in one-dayers and 153 in T20s. A dominant presence at the crease, he led the Northern Cape charge to the top of the Division II standings with his destructive batting.

“There were a couple of spots open and certain players we wanted to attract,” CGL chief executive Jono Leaf-Wright told The Citizen. “Evan and Cameron are both really strong white-ball batsmen.

“Our T20 campaign was not great and we decided to push the reset button and make strategic signings.

“Winning the One-Day Cup was a relief because we were in the middle of the promotion/relegation pool after the bitter pill of our four-day finish and the T20 Challenge. Now we are second.

“Seven players left us to play for South Africa, that’s our role, to keep providing players for the national team, but to lose them meant we were victims of our own success. We have to make sure the depth of the talent pool is there,” Leaf-Wright said.

Bjorn Fortuin, who played a crucial role in getting the Lions across the finish line in the One-Day Cup final, has been rewarded with a two-year contract, joining Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Dominic Hendricks and Lutho Sipamla in that category.

Duanne Olivier, Mitchell van Buuren and Codi Yusuf have signed new contracts with the Lions, while wicketkeeper/batsman Ruan Haasbroek and spinner Tshepo Ntuli have been released.

Former SA U19 captain Wandile Makwetu has decided to cross the Vaal River and join Central Gauteng from the Free State Knights, but he has not been contracted.

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