Delano Potgieter leads Lions fightback in 4-Day final against Western Province

FILE - A general view of the Wanderers Stadium. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/AFP

FILE - A general view of the Wanderers Stadium. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/AFP

Published Mar 1, 2024


Delano Potgieter proved to be the thorn in Western Province's side and the Lions' saviour for the second consecutive innings in the Cricket SA 4-Day Cup final at the Wanderers.

Potgieter, batting down at No 8, followed up his first innings 81 with another undefeated 89 to haul his team off the canvas and give themselves a fighting chance in a match they have been trailing the visitors for the majority of the first three days.

Despite a gritty 57 from nightwatchman Tshepo Moreki, which followed his maiden five-wicket haul, and workmanlike 47 from Proteas Test skipper Temba Bavuma, the Lions found themselves floundering at 113/6 - an overall lead of just 26 with only four wickets remaining midway through the second session.

But cometh the hour, cometh Potgieter as he found an able ally in Bjorn Fortuin (42) as the pair added an invaluable 86-run partnership for the eighth wicket.

Their fight was ultimately ended by the irrepressible Dane Paterson (3/43), but the partnership has helped the Lions close the day on 282/8 with a now sizeable lead of 195 runs with still two wickets remaining.

Province will, meanwhile, wonder how they have let their position of dominance slip yet again towards the latter end of the day.

The visitors picked up three wickets in a 22-ball burst after Moreki’s first session resistance that saw the seam bowler face 110 balls and eight boundaries.

Mthiwekhaya Nabe was the orchestrator of the Lions mini-collapse that had Province dreaming of the domestic double and a weekend off to celebrate their triumph in Cape Town.

Nabe removed the dangerous Ryan Rickelton, who was not to happy with umpire Steve Davis’ decision before removing the in-form Wiaan Mulder with a brilliant delivery first up.

And when the injured Beuran Hendricks pushed through the pain barrier to send down a peach of a delivery than angled in before moving away to take Bavuma’s outside edge, Province were well on course.

But Potgieter had shown already in this match that he is made of that stuff every coach wants to bottle up and give each player to drink before they got out to play and made life increasingly difficult for the visitors.

Left-arm spinner Kyle Simmonds would be particularly disappointed with his performance in the final after entering the contest as the joint leading wicket-taker in the competition with Fortuin as he proved largely ineffective.

It is now in fact Fortuin that may yet still have the biggest impact on the final as it heads into the last two days with the Lions looking to extend their lead into something even more competitive on Saturday before their bowlers have an opportunity to really turn on the pressure on Province in what is building up towards a fascinating fourth innings run chase.


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