JOHANNESBURG, 29 March 2023 – Although the DP World Lions did not get the desired outcome from the CSA 4-Day Domestic Series competition, captain Dominic Hendricks has hailed their effort at the end of the season as being an excellent one.

While the Lions only finished fourth, they made a strong challenge for the title, ending only 7.54 points behind the champions, the HollywoodBets Dolphins.

The Lions actuallybeat the Dolphins by three wickets in a thrilling final match in Potchefstroom, their second win in the second half of the competition, to go with two draws and an abandoned match against the Itec Knights in Bloemfontein.

“We were disappointed to finish fourth but the competition was so close and it was very satisfying how we ended,” Hendricks said. “I was very happy with the solid four-day cricket we were playing at the end. I believe scoring 293 to beat the Dolphins was a record chase in Potchefstroom in the fourth innings and our win over Western Province really showed our character. At tea on the last day we were staring down the barrel with WP only two down and needing about a hundred runs to win. But Codi Yusuf got us a wicket in the first over after tea to get us back into the game and then suddenly Bjorn Fortuin took two wickets and Sisanda Magala took two more. It was a phenomenal turnaround to win by 28 runs and we showed if you give us half-a-sniff then we will take the opportunity.”

The opening batsman said what pleased him most about the four-day campaign was that the team did not consign all the pressure and responsibility for crucial performances on to two or three players. Six batsmen scored over 200 runs in the season and there were four main bowlers used who took 65 wickets between them.

“The most satisfying thing is that a lot of different guys stepped up through the campaign. Ryan Rickelton (365 runs at 121.66) was our biggest contributor with the bat before he went on national duty, and then Josh Richards, myself and Mitch van Buuren chipped in.

“The attack also showed how well-oiled they have become with different guys stepping up to take those 20 wickets you need to win games. I was very pleased with how well they dovetailed. 

Lutho Sipamla (20 wickets) has really come a long way and will probably lead our attack in the future. Lutho and Evan Jones both taking five-wicket hauls against the Dolphins were stand-out performances and Malusi Siboto was as economical as ever,” says Hendricks, who ended as the leading run-scorer for the Lions with 369 at 52.71.

Magala played just four matches due to Proteas call-ups, but took 14 wickets at 21.14, while Fortuin finished as the leading wicket-taker with 22 at 23.27. Coupled with his 301 runs at an average of 60.20, it was enough to send the spin bowling all-rounder right back into the national team set-up.

“Bjorn was absolutely phenomenal and he had such an incredible impact on that Western Province game with 188 runs and nine wickets. He basically carried the team on his shoulders then. “His body was so wrecked after that that he couldn’t play golf with us the next day. But then the next week in Paarl he opened the bowling and bowled 25 of the first 50 overs, and then in the second innings just carried on again. It’s testament to how good he’s been for us, he’s showed why he’s one of the best cricketers in the country and that has deservedly led to national call-ups,” Hendricks said.

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