T20 Domestic Cup

Lions hungry for final success

2013-04-04 17:36
Alviro Petersen (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - It has been six long seasons since the Highveld Lions gave Gauteng cricket sole ownership of a franchise trophy and captain Alviro Petersen has been counting the years as he gears up his team ahead of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final.

Sunday's match against the Titans at the Wanderers is a fourth successive final for the Lions, having lost last season's T20 final against the Titans, as well as the Champions League final against the Sydney Sixers in October.

They were denied the chance to win the One-Day Cup outright when the final against the Cape Cobras was twice rained out and the trophy eventually shared.

The Lions' previous and only franchise crown came in 2006/07, when they won the domestic T20 competition.

"We have to get over being happy that we're just in the final. It's time to win trophies now," Petersen said on Thursday.

"Our mindset is a winning one. We've played well, we expected to be in the final and now it's time to get the monkey off our backs.

"And we want to win the trophy outright, not share it."

Petersen admitted the Lions had been below their best in their previous domestic T20 finals and were perhaps satisfied with the achievement of qualifying for the lucrative Champions League.

"It was more subconscious than anything, but the guys thought they'd done their job because we'd qualified for the Champions League, which everyone wants to play in, and we just didn't rock up for the finals," the skipper said.

"We showed that again this season when we went to the top of the log. We started cruising and suddenly we were under pressure and had to beat the Dolphins in our last game.

"We just haven't played well in the finals."

Apart from better mental and on-field preparation, Petersen was also putting faith in his bowling attack, with Hardus Viljoen, Sohail Tanvir, Aaron Phangiso and Chris Morris being in the top five wicket-takers in the competition this season.

"Our bowlers have played a massive role.

"We understand the importance of runs on the board, but our bowlers have been fantastic. We have the top wicket-takers and they've also done really well restricting the batsmen."

Tanvir, who missed the Dolphins game because of commitments in Pakistan, will be back in the fray on Sunday and will probably replace a batsman.

With Quinton de Kock in inspired form, having broken the record for the most runs in a T20 season with 480, there is just a single place available in the top-order for one of Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma or Gulam Bodi.

The Lions are likely to continue with their policy of going into the game a batsman light, putting pressure on their five specialists to perform, but Jean Symes said he was comfortable knowing he could come in at number five with the whole innings depending on him.

"You don't want to look too far ahead and if you come in at the death and the pressure is on, you just have to keep a calm head and back your game plan and skills, back yourself to execute them," Symes said.

"We try to be more conservative up front to give ourselves a base, a platform that will allow us to launch."


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