Friday, 25 October 2019

Interim Imperial Lions coach Wandile Gwavu is happy with the way their season is shaping up after three rounds of the 4-Day Domestic Series season.

The defending champions won a low-scoring opening game against the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, then lost to the Warriors and followed that up with arguably their best game of the season when they drew with the VKB Knights this past week.

They are now preparing to take on the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg from Monday and Gwavu believes they are getting stronger and stronger as the weeks progress.

“I was very happy with our performance this past week,” he reflected. “I think we did very well in all departments.

“The batting in the first few games as I had mentioned in the first couple of weeks was not up to scratch, but the batsmen responded wonderfully in Kimberley.

“It’s all well and good to say the batsmen haven’t been doing well, but I always knew we have the quality in our line-up to get the runs. They did really well, and I’m pleased with them.

“The bowlers as well, they showed what a dynamic attack we have, and they did very well to try and force the result. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

The results of the last few days have left the Lions in fourth position going into the next round, but with the season off to a tight start overall, it means they are within a win of catching the log-leading Momentum Multiply Titans.

“I think overall I’m pleased with where we’re at after three games of the season,” Gwavu, who is standing in for interim Standard Bank Proteas Team Director Enoch Nkwe, added. “Now we’re at home at the Wanderers for the first time this season and we’ll be hoping to make an impact there in conditions we are all very familiar with.

“It is the last game before the break and we want to finish well. We’re not too concerned about the opposition, our focus is on our processes and how we can improve from the previous games and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”

Their opponents, the Dolphins, are bottom of the table after losing one and drawing two of their first three matches.

The Durban-based team have had a difficult season thus far after finding themselves batting on each of the three final days of their games.

Every time they have been put under pressure to try and survive and this week was no different, with Cody Chetty’s dogged unbeaten half-century saving them.

“Similar to last week in Bloem, we were under pressure going into the last day,” coach Imraan Khan stated. “But the guys showed good fight, led by Cody, who also impressed last week against the Knights.”

Khan believes the area they need to improve most in is their bowling department. He continued: “Our biggest challenge has been to get 20 wickets, if we can improve the bowling then I’m sure come the back end of the game next week we will have a chance.”

And looking ahead to the trip to Gauteng, their third away game in four rounds, he admitted they will be up against it but backed his players to gain the win they so desperately crave.

“The Lions had a decent start to their campaign and are the defending champs, so we’ll have to be wary of them and the dangers they pose,” Khan added. “Playing them away will be tough, but it’s a nice one to finish this block of fixtures. “It will be nice if we can go there and get the win. I think we have the ability to do that, we just need to make sure we start well and are consistent throughout the game.”