The Bizhub Lions sealed a domestic double in Enoch Nkwe’s debut season as coach after sealing the CSA T20 Challenge title by beating the Warriors by 11 runs.
The Lions batted first where skipper Temba Bavuma scored a maiden T20 hundred as he led from the front, scoring 104 off 63 balls. He was well supported by Standard Bank Proteas World Cup squad member Rassie van der Dussen who smashed 73 off 41 balls to complete a 165 run third-wicket partnership with his captain to help the Lions set a mammoth first innings total of 203/4.
Andrew Birch grabbed their wickets but overall there was much to celebrate from the Warriors bowlers with Sithembile Langa feeling the brunt of the charge after conceding a whopping 69 runs in his four overs with an economy of 17.25.
In reply. Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts looked like he was going to single-handedly take the Warriors to victory after smashing an incredible 121 runs off just 60 balls with a strike rate of 201.66. Unfortunately for Smuts, Bjorn Fortuin was wreaking havoc on the other end as the Lions spinner picked up four wickets for just 27 runs.
Smuts continued to pile on the runs but just kept running out of partners as Migael Pretorius and Lizaad Williams took three and two wickets respectively before Smuts became the final wicket to fall with just 11 more runs required. His only support came from Onke Nyaku who’s innings of 27 off 20 balls was the second one above 20 and just the third above two-figures.
A CAPTAIN’S KNOCK | 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣
What an innings!
JJ Smuts has just notched up his 3rd century in this format of the game. This has been a knock of grit and some powerful hitting.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) May 5, 2019
The title means that the Lions won two out of the three honours after they walked away as the 4-Day Domestic Series title champions earlier this year.
CSA Chief Executive Thabang Moroe. praised the two teams for a brilliant display of cricket to bring the curtain down on the South African domestic season and as it stands, the last one involving the franchise system.
“Congratulations to the Lions on their exciting victory,” Moroe said. “Although cricket remains a team game it would be remiss of me not to make special mention of the respective captain’s innings by Temba Bavuma and Jon-Jon Smuts.”
“By any standard this was a wonderful final and well done to all the players, coaches and support staff on both sides.
“It has been a highly competitive season of franchise cricket with one of the highlights being the way the league play has gone down to the final weekend in deciding which four teams qualified for the semi-finals.
All eyes will now turn to the Cricket World Cup which begins at the end of the month and South African fans will continue to sweat over the extent of the injuries across the squad at the moment.