CSA make a call on franchise champions

Malusi Siboto of the Lions celebrates thicket of Aviwe Mgijima of the Cobras with his team mates during day 3 of the CSA 4 Day Series match between Imperial Lions and WSB Cape Cobras at Senwes Park on October 09, 2019 in Potchefstroom, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

The Highveld Lions and Dolphins walk away with spoils despite no domestic competition being completed due to Covid-19.

The Lions, in the four-day competition, and the Dolphins, in the Momentum One-Day Cup, were awarded the domestic cricket titles by CSA.

Wandile Gwavu, the Lions coach, said the defending champions fully deserved to win the long-format competition even though the last two rounds still had to be played when the season was abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lions were leading the log by 8.46 points and had won four of their eight games, twice as many as the second-placed Titans.

“We were the most consistent four-day side, even though we lost two games back-to-back. We played really good cricket through all eight games, we had good impetus and we were playing attacking cricket. It’s tough to win four-day games because you have to be on top of the opposition for a long time, so we did very well to win four.

“We weren’t just about to relinquish our lead either. We really dominated at home, which I believe is the sign of champions. We only lost one game at home in both formats, which is outstanding. There were times when we knew we had to dig deep, we had a lot of
injuries, but that is something we pride ourselves on. It all goes back to the first four-day game against the Cobras in Potch and how calm we stayed to get that last wicket with just 12 runs needed,” Gwavu told The Citizen.

The 50-over title was the icing on the cake for coach Imraan Khan in his first season in charge of the Dolphins, who finished top of the Momentum One-Day Cup log by two points, winning seven of their 10 games compared to the six of the second-placed Lions.

“We worked hard on our whiteball skills and the team did really well to get themselves into such a strong position. There were match-winners throughout our line-up and that is how you want to play cricket,” said Khan.

Meanwhile, CSA also announced that the franchise system will remain in place for next season.

The federation and the South African Cricketers Association were at loggerheads in court over a potential domestic restructuring, but the two parties are now keeping each other in the loop again.

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