Proteas all-rounder Wiaan Mulder has produced the most inspirational individual performance thus far this season for the DP World Lions and the 25-year-old is confident that his team will produce a strong comeback in the CSA One-Day Cup when they get back into action by taking on the Dafabet Warriors in Johannesburg on Friday 6 October.

Mulder’s remarkable, record-breaking 96 off 93 balls out of a total of just 128 against Western Province was not enough to avoid defeat, but it showed that there is plenty of fight in this DP World Lions team.

In a position to bounce back from that loss in midweek, #ThePrideOfJozi had the HollywoodBets Dolphins 200 for six with just three overs left of their 34-over innings when rain washed out play at the DP World Wanderers Stadium. The visitors had started well, rushing to 61 for two in the first nine overs, but the Lions clawed things back well with the ball.

Sisanda Magala and Tshepo Moreki each took a couple of wickets and Mulder chipped in with one in a very tidy spell that helped turn the tide. The DP World Lions were poised to stifle the Dolphins in the last three overs and then surge to victory in a thrilling run-chase, but bad luck this season continued with the first rains of the summer in Johannesburg arriving on match day.

“We didn’t bowl well at first, we were all guilty of bowling two lengths and one or two boundary balls every over. But then we gave ourselves the opportunity to chase something, without the pressure of batting first and any negativity. It would have been a good score to chase, and maybe it would have been the turning point in our campaign. We have a really good batting line-up that has performed for a while. We may not be in a good position on the log at the moment, but we are the defending champions so there’s no need for any doubts, it’s just about getting into the battle a little more,” Mulder said.

Well aware that improvement is needed,  head coach Russell Domingo and batting coach Hashim Amla will be driving two key area’s in the coming week: Intensity and the basics.

“Russell and Hashim have been putting pressure on us when things go wrong. There have been a lot of dismissals when guys get in, get to 10 or 12 and give it away. We are really hungry to get back to scoring those big hundreds that were our hallmark. Josh Richards and Ryan Rickelton have been really good and batting for a long time in four-day cricket. We’re keen to correct our wrongs and increase our intensity. We haven’t been at our best, it’s been a slow start, and the team is hurting a lot. But it’s about how we go forward now: We need to do the basics better and raise our intensity. We have a long time before the next game, so should have a minimum of four training sessions. This coming week will be a lot of hard work, focusing on the basics and our processes, so we get back into a good place, where we can produce a solid performance regardless of the opposition,” Mulder said.

But how about that innings of Mulder’s against Western Province, the highlight of the DP World Lions season thus far and a South African record for the highest percentage of a team’s total being scored by one batter?

Mulder’s 96 out of 128 was 75% of the team total. It is the highest proportion of runs in any South African List A match, and second only to Bermuda captain Kamau Leverock’s 78.75% in global terms.

Leverock is the nephew of Dwayne Leverock, famous for his larger-than-life performances, especially in the slips, in the 2007 World Cup. Kamau Leverock scored 63 off 51 balls out of the paltry Bermuda total of 80 all out, against Jersey in their ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B match in Kampala last year.

Although he has claimed the South African record and very nearly the world’s best mark, Mulder is disappointed that he missed out on his century.

“I gave it away a bit in the end, a bit of a lazy shot, but it was very good to spend some time out in the middle. The pitch was quite difficult, there was lots of steep bounce and Nandre Burger and Beuran Hendricks, with their extra pace, made it tough. Nandre also swung the ball nicely and they made you play, so bringing in all dismissals. It was certainly tricky. But the key for me was identifying the most common dismissal, which was nicking off. So I batted on off-stump and concentrated on leaving well and playing straight, if I was lbw or bowled then it would be my mistake. I would cut or pull if the opportunity presented itself. The bowlers were looking for wickets so there were always going to be some bad balls, I didn’t have to look for scoring options. And the team didn’t need me to score but to bat time,” Mulder explained.

It’s the sort of attention to detail and clear thinking that our DP World Lions batting line-up, one of the best in the country, will be bringing to the DP World Wanderers next Friday with high hopes of notching that first win. With free entrance for all, #ThePrideOfJozi would welcome your support and that of your friends and families. Play starts at 13h00 versus Dafabet Warriors.

*Statistics courtesy of freelance South African statistician Sue Abbott.