Friday, January 27, 2023

Lions Cricket: DP World Lions: Global T20 Namibia Champions

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Taking place in Windhoek, the inaugural Global T20 Namibia tri-tournament consisted of the DP World Lions as well as Namibia’s men’s team, Richelieu Eagles and Lahore Qalandars from Pakistan.

The tournament, which placed its emphasis on talent development and allowing future stars the opportunity to test themselves against the best opponents from around the world; achieved the desired result for DP World Lions. Each team played against each other twice, with the top two sides DP World Lions and Lahore Qalandars meeting in today’s final.  Batting first, Lahore Qalandars posted a competitive 185/5. In a breathtaking finish, the DP World Lions achieved the win leaving only 1 ball to spare, also with 5 down and a magnificent top score from Reeza Hendricks of 94 off 59 balls.

Captain Malusi Siboto says that the tournament has been a really great experience for him on a personal level;

“As for the team, we have a couple of young guys coming through – so to see everyone gel and come through has been good. Whilst not everyone will get the same playing time in a tournament like this, it’s important that we get to know and understand each other – and that we get to learn from the youngsters. We have a lot to take out from this tournament and coming up against a team from Namibia and another from Pakistan serves as a good measurable. I have enjoyed captaining this team, witnessing how we perform under pressure and watching our team come out of their shells and express themselves. So many players have learnt from the likes of Temba and Reeza and will grow from such an experience.”

Temba Bavuma says the tournament has been both fun and competitive;

“For a person such as myself, it’s been good as I have been out with injury for the last 2-3 months. Last time I was here was 2009. To get some cricket under my belt is refreshing from my side. It’s been a good tournament: Take aways for me include the fact that it was a competitive T20 series, getting the guys ready for the season ahead – an invaluable lesson and opportunity for those youngsters getting their first taste and well done to them for grabbing it with both hands.”

Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright said that unearthing talent, connecting as a team and playing some great cricket should send a clear message to Lions fans;

“Our performance over the last few days is indicative of our squads promise on the season ahead. The team is a great unit and true ambassadors for the Lions brand both on and off the field. I love the fact that everything the Lions family does and promises to do, is with pride, passion and professionalism. I would like to thank Cricket Namibia for hosting us as the team thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

DP World Lions Head Coach Wandile Gwavu concludes;

“Part of the reason why this team has performed well over the years is because of our mix of younger players and well-seasoned campaigners. It’s always nice to have our Protea’s players present – their presence is visible and is perhaps the reason why the likes of Mitch van Buuren and Codi Yusuf have grown up so quickly over the past year. Then someone like Evan Jones who’s come into the team and puts in a match winning performance – I think it’s all credit to the environment, largely accredited to our senior players and entire support system. The one thing that we place high value on is the ‘care factor’ as we spend a lot of time together and if there is anything that stands out about Lions Cricket, it’s the fact that we care. Amongst the hard work, professionalism and all the behind the scenes’ factors, to me it’s the care that counts. It allows our new players to express themselves freely in meetings and on the field and this pre-season tournament has been incredibly valuable for us as we move into the South African domestic season. I am so proud of our team for this win and I hope every Lions fan celebrates this victory with us!”

The season ahead promises to be a great one with the CSA T20 kicking it off within the next month. The first trophy is in the bag for the DP World Lions who are focused on the season ahead and winning many more competitions while always remembering the ‘Lions Way’ and the values our system is built on.  

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