Johannesburg, 15 April 2024  

The DP World Lions men’s team closed the gap on first place in the CSA T20 Challenge standings with an inspired 10-wicket win over the North-West Dragons in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The Dragons had elected to bat first, but a brilliant bowling and fielding display by  #ThePrideOfJozi saw them out inside 19 overs for just 85 runs.

The DP World Lions then sent Zubayr Hamza and Connor Esterhuizen, coming in for the rested duo of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, to open the batting. The pair duly knocked off the required runs in just 9.2 overs. With our Pride strolling to a bonus point win, and the log-leading Warriors losing to the Boland Rocks in Paarl, it means the Lions are now just four points behind the Eastern Province side on 35 points. The two sides meet on Wednesday at St George’s Park in a massive encounter.

Wiaan Mulder (2-0-9-2) set the tone up front with the ball as he struck twice in his first two overs. His first delivery of the match saw Meeka-Eel Prince (1) mishit a catch to mid-on, and in his next over he picked up Rubin Hermann (3) caught at extra cover.

At 12 for two, the Dragons slipped further into trouble when Lutho Sipamla (3-0-18-2) removed Lesiba Ngoepe (9) and Wihan Lubbe (22).

North-West were 53 for four after 10 overs and still under big pressure when Nqaba Peter (4-0-22-3) and his rapidly-developing leg-spin were brought into the attack. The 22-year-old struck with his second ball as he deceived and bowled Raynard van Tonder (12). Peter then struck twice in successive deliveries in his next over. Senuran Muthusamy (6) was brilliantly caught by Esterhuizen, running in from the midwicket boundary and diving forward to scoop up a low catch, and Caleb Seleka (0) was then bowled first ball by a brilliant slider.

Seamers Evan Jones and Codi Yusuf, and spinner Bjorn Fortuin then each took a wicket to wrap up the Dragons innings.

Hamza and Esterhuizen got comfortable on an autumnal pitch that made it difficult to hit through the line on the up, and then produced a combative unbeaten partnership of 86 off 60 balls to win the match.

They both finished on 41 not out off 28 balls. Hamza’s smooth strokeplay, plus some innovative hitting, saw him collect six fours and a six, while Esterhuizen looked a bright talent as he struck four fours and two sixes, both his driving and pulling being impressive.

Our #ThePrideOfJozi have now won four games in a row and are building impressive momentum as a place in the knockout rounds and a home semi-final beckon. In the last week of round-robin action, they travel to take on the Warriors and the fourth-placed Titans, before returning home to the DP World Wanderers Stadium to play the bottom-placed Tuskers next Sunday.

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.

APRIL 2024
Wednesday 1718h00CSA T20 ChallengeWarriorsDP World Lions St George’s Park Cricket Stadium, Gqeberha
Friday 1918h00CSA T20 ChallengeTitansDP World Lions SuperSport Park, Centurion
Sunday 2114h00CSA T20 ChallengeTuskersDP World Lions Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg
Wednesday 2418h00CSA T20 ChallengeSemi Final 1TBC
Thursday 2518h00CSA T20 ChallengeSemi Final 2TBC
Sunday 2814h00CSA T20 ChallengeFinalTBC
Monday 2914h00CSA T20 ChallengeReserve DayTBC