Dol­phins and Lions are the big win­ners

Pretoria News - - SPORTS - STUART HESS [email protected] CRICKET SA DO­MES­TIC WIN­NERS: Four-Day Se­ries: Highveld Lions One-Day Cup: Dol­phins Women’s T20 League: Western Prov­ince Women’s Pro­vin­cial 50-over League: North West

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.

Graeme Smith

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