Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Lions Cricket burst with pride – Successful season thus far

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Photo Credit: Lions Cricket

A wrap up of a successful T20 World Cup, inclusive of 6 Lions Blind Cricket players: Their performances, their passion, their determination for the remainder of the season.

Hosted by World Blind Cricket Limited and facilitated through the Cricket Association for the blind in India, the Blind Cricket World Cup is the most prestigious event in blind cricket internationally and is the pinnacle competition for any blind cricketer to be a part of.

From 3 – 19 December 2022, the 2022 T20 Blind Cricket World Cup delivered some of the most thrilling blind cricket action in the world. For the first time in South Africa’s history, the team reached the semi-finals of a T20 Blind Cricket World Cup, losing to eventual winners India.

Of the 17 players selected to represent South Africa at the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup, six represent Central Gauteng Lions (CGL): Doctor Malinga (B1) Central Gauteng; Johan Schroeder (B1) Central Gauteng; Buhle Bhidla (B2) Central Gauteng; Isaac Bidla (B2) Central Gauteng; Lwande Bhidla (B3) Central Gauteng and Siyavuya Mahlikihla (B3) Central Gauteng.

Blind Cricket South Africa President, Asanda Isaac Bidla says that since ranking 9th in the 2017 T20 Blind Cricket World Cup, much work was undertaken in order to give South African blind cricket the massive facelift it required. 

“Blind Cricket South Africa set a target of reaching the semi-finals of the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup back in 2018. To realise this dream, despite the severe lack of resources the sport still faces in South Africa, is a remarkable achievement that Blind Cricket South Africa and the South African visually impaired community as a whole can be proud of! To have 6 players from Lions Cricket was especially pleasing – a tribute to an all-inclusive, innovative and passionately powerful union.”

Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright beams with pride at the Union’s players performances;

“As a Union, we are extremely fortunate to have strong players and even better people amongst our valued Blind Cricket division. On behalf of our Union, I would like to thank Doctor, Johan, Buhle, Isaac, Lwande and Siyavuya – not just for what you’ve done in the past, but for the high standard you’ll continue to deliver in the future: Lions Cricket is incredibly proud of your T20 World Cup achievements and look forward to all that remains to be achieved this season and beyond.”

A special mention to both Lions players Isaac Bidla and Buhle Bhidla who received Player of the Match awards. Isaac Bidla received a Player of the Match for his impressive opening innings of 70 runs from 45 balls in the victory over Australia in the Round Robin match in Delhi that took place on 7 December 2022. Buhle Bhidla received a Player of the Match award after guiding the team to victory having scored 68 runs from 49 balls against Nepal in Delhi on 10 December 2022.

Bidla says of the remainder of the season;

“CGL Blind Cricket are busy playing qualifiers for the One Day Cup against Northerns Blind Cricket and Limpopo Blind Cricket, facing each team in the group once. The group winner will qualify for the One Day Cup Final round two. It is with great pride that Central Gauteng Lions Blind Cricket (CGLBC) were awarded the rights to host the final round by Blind Cricket South Africa, who believe in the ability and resourcefulness of CGLBC to assist in serving the beautiful game for what should be a very entertaining competition that will see the Top 4 Qualifiers battling head-to-head over 3 days of 40 over cricket. The One Day Cup final round will be played from 28 – 30 April 2023. Each team will face each other once in a League format to eventually crown the 2023 One Day Blind Cricket Champions of South Africa. In addition, CGL Blind Cricket is preparing for the Jozi Cup, a roadshow and we are developing a ladies team. There is plenty on the go, and we’re absolutely loving it!”

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