Johannesburg, 15 March 2024

Given the length of the CSA T20 Challenge, winning at home and making the DP World Wanderers Stadium an unrelenting fortress for the #PrideOfJozi is of utmost importance, so says DP World Lions men’s bowling coach Allan Donald.

The DP World Lions may have gone down in the last over to the Dolphins at Kingsmead midweek for the first loss of our campaign, but Donald preferred to give credit to the opposition rather than worry about a rare off night for the Pride in one of the most difficult places in the country for visiting teams.

As such, our Pride, and Donald especially, are hugely keyed up for two massive home games this weekend: Friday night versus the Titans followed by Western Province on Sunday afternoon.

“It looked a beautiful pitch in Durban, absolute gun for batting, but then it nipped a little and it was tough to hit down the ground. The Dolphins bowled exceptionally well to use that bit of nip, and for us to get to 155, I thought was really good,” Donald said.

“We took two early wickets but then Bryce Parsons played magnificently and he had really good support at the end. And yet we still managed to take it to the last over against a side that knows how to play there, it’s a tough place, and all credit to them because they were zero-for-two in the competition. But this competition is a marathon and you need to be very patient. Now we have two derbies against the Titans and Western Province that are always very closely-contested, and I think they are going to be two absolute crackers based on the pitch we had against the Rocks. We’re coming up against two quality teams and home games are massive. I expect a run-fest and whoever defends best will win. It will be a battle of inches and the bravery, execution and skill of the players is going to be tested to the limit,” Donald said.

Rickelton took advantage of an excellent wicket in the DP World Lions’ opening match against Boland to blaze his way to 75 off 39 balls, and his clean striking will again be a key factor at the DP World Wanderers on Friday and Sunday.

Then there is the revitalised Temba Bavuma who is top of the national averages after his fluent 53 not out off 40 balls against the Dolphins that kept the Pride in the game. Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks have also made good runs in the T20 campaign already and Mitchell van Buuren showed his progression in the shortest format in the SA20.

“Temba batted exceptionally well on a slow pitch and Mitchell was batting beautifully too. Winning at home is a massive deal and I’m sure all those guys are going to step up,” Donald said.

With batsmen expected to hold sway, it is perhaps the wicket-taking ability of the attacks that will be vital in stemming the flow of runs. For the DP World Lions, there can be no-one better than the graceful Kagiso Rabada, with the action as smooth as silk but delivering lethal weapons, to lead our attack.

Left-arm quick Kwena Maphaka will be alongside him again with the 17-year-old having made an incredibly smooth transition to senior domestic cricket.

“It’s so nice to see the national team players like KG turning out for us, it really gives the team a boost and they bring a lot of calmness,” Donald said. “And the more I watch Kwena, the more I realise he is just something else. He’s only 17 years old but he’s not scared, he doesn’t take a backwards step. It’s going to be great to see how he does and it’s going to be a wonderful festival at the DP World Wanderers this weekend. It won’t be easy to defend, we’ll have to be extremely smart and decision-making is going to come to the fore. When things are really tight, which is likely against two very good teams, that’s when you need to be on the money,” Donald concluded.

For those who love a bit of extra cash, pop into the DP World Wanderers during match time this weekend and stand a chance to win the ‘Caught in 20K’ competition. The first 1-handed clean catch at our home stadium, during the 23/24 CSA T20 Challenge, will win R20 000 in cash. Match day tickets are available at TicketPro starting at R50 for adults. To check up on the T&C’s, please visit lionscricket.co.za or @lionscricket on social media.

DP WORLD LIONS MENS CSA T20 CHALLENGE SQUAD:
Ryan Rickelton; Reeza Hendricks; Temba Bavuma ; Rassie van der Dussen ; Mitchell van Buuren ; Wiaan Mulder ; Evan Jones ; Bjorn Fortuin ; Tshepo Moreki ; Codi Yusuf ; Kwena Maphaka ; Zubayr Hamza ; Connor Esterhuizen ; Junaid Dawood ; Nqaba Peter ; Kagiso Rabada ; Delano Potgieter ; Lutho Sipamla.

MARCH
Friday 1518h00DP World Lions TitansDP World Wanderers Stadium
Sunday 1714h00DP World Lions Western Province DP World Wanderers Stadium
Saturday 2318h00DP World Lions TuskersDP World Wanderers Stadium
Wednesday 2718h00DP World Lions WarriorsDP World Wanderers Stadium
Sunday 3114h00RocksDP World Lions Boland Park, Paarl