Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Lions and Western Province gear up for battle in CSA 4-Day Series final

While the Lions finished top of the table in the opening round, they were less than one point clear of WP.

The competition’s form teams, the Lions and Western Province, will battle it out this week for the domestic first-class title, as they square off in the final of the CSA 4-Day Series at the Wanderers starting on Wednesday.

In the only previous first-class match this season between the two sides, the Lions beat Province by 106 runs in Cape Town in November.

And while the Lions also finished top of the table in the round-robin stage of the 2023/24 campaign, they were less than one point clear of WP.

Opening batter Joshua Richards said head coach Russell Domingo had warned that the home team needed to be at their best in this week’s five-day clash.

“Russell reminded us that we have not won anything yet. We will have to front up again and hit the ground running again from Wednesday because we start afresh on zero against Western Province,” Richards said.

Star performers

Both teams have impressed with the ball this season, with left-arm spinners Kyle Simmonds (WP) and Bjorn Fortuin (Lions) taking 28 scalps each to finish top of the wicket-taking list.

Seam bowlers Beuran Hendricks (WP), who took 24 wickets, and Codi Yusuf (Lions), with 20 scalps, have also been useful for their sides and will be eager to play key roles again if they are selected for the trophy battle.

With the bat, Wiaan Mulder and Kyle Verreynne will be looking to help lay foundations for their teams. Mulder has been superb for the Lions, racking up 508 runs in five matches at an average of 63.50, and Verreynne has been equally useful for Province, compiling 453 runs at an average of 64.71.

Confident visitors

Gearing up for what could be a tightly contested encounter, Western Province bowling coach Rory Kleinveldt was confident the visitors could lift the trophy.

“We’re in a really good place. This final is coming at a good time for us,” Kleinveldt said.

“The guys are confident, coming off two wins to get us into this stage of the competition. Hopefully we can carry that momentum through into the final and it can get us through the next five days.”

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Cricket South Africa (CSA)

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