Dolphins and Lions are the big winners
COMMON sense has prevailed in the decisions regarding the winners of the 2019-20 domestic competitions, with Cricket South Africa, rewarding the teams that topped the log after the round-robin phase when the season was suspended.
That means that in the men’s domestic franchise competitions, the Dolphins were crowned One-Day Cup champions, while the Highveld Lions were awarded the Four-Day Series Challenge title, meaning a successful defence of that competition by a team made up of players from the North West and Central Gauteng provincial teams. There were still two rounds of matches remaining in the fourday competition which was originally scheduled to finish on April 8. However the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent actions taken by the SA government to slow the spread thereof forced CSA to end the season.
The Lions had lost both of their last two matches – the last against the Titans at SuperSport Park on January 22, was a particularly infuriating one for their coach Wandile Gwavu. Had they won there, they would virtually have secured the title. As it was, with two matches remaining they held an eight-point lead over the Titans, while both the Warriors and Knights were within 10 points of the Lions as well.
“This is undoubtedly the fairest way to decide the various winners,” said CSA’s interim director of cricket Graeme Smith, who had been tasked with coming up with recommendations for how to decide the winners. His recommendations were ratified by the members council – all the provincial presidents – on Tuesday. While the Dolphins are the official champions of One-Day Cup, they won’t be awarded the full prize money as that competition isn’t decided on a league basis as is the case with the four-day tournament. Four teams qualified for the knockout phase of the competition, the last of those being the Knights who secured their place in the final round-robin match by beating the Titans.
Following an agreement between CSA and sponsors, the prize money in the One-Day Cup was split between the four teams that qualified for the semi-finals, with the Dolphins earning a 40 percent share, the Lions, who finished second 30 percent and the Warriors and Knights 15 percent each. “In the One-Day Cup it was also important that we put extra weight on the performances of the teams that earned home-ground advantage for the knock-out stage,” Smith said by way of explaining the split.