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The secret to Lions’ T20 success

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The Lions have got their Ram SlamT20 season off to a great start, winning all four of their games to date. Photo by Duif du Toit

The Lions have got their Ram SlamT20 season off to a great start, winning all four of their games to date.

Lions spinner Aaron Phangiso has not been surprised by his team’s great start as he believes the team has worked extremely hard in training.

“The guys have been working hard, so it is no surprise,” said Phangiso. “Everyday in practice you find the guys pushing themselves in order to get optimal performances.

“Last year, we surprised a lot of people by getting to the Champions League final and that has been a major boost for us.

“Reaching the final made us realise what we are capable of as a team and that has gone a long way to increasing our confidence.”

Phangiso is the tournament’s current top wicket-taker with eight wickets and is followed by two of his teammates – Pakistani Sohail Tanvir and Hardus Viljoen, who are on six wickets apiece.

“The bowling unit had several meetings before our games, and we worked hard on our ability to defend the targets the batters set. They are doing well and we have to do the same as we are all a team. Against the Warriors, we defended well and we were even able to bowl them out. At the moment, we feel that we can defend any total.

“Guys like Chris (Morris) can do anything on his day and the same can be said for Hardus (Viljoen). These guys can perform miracles for the team and they are really important. I am happy to be part of this special attack.”

Tanvir, the 28-year old Pakistan bowler, played for the Lions last season and had a good partnership with former international T20 player Dirk Nannes, with the pair leading the team to both the domestic and Champions League finals.

This season, however, Nannes decided not to sign for the Lions and will only be in T20 action when he turns out for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April, leaving Tanvir as the senior member of the bowling squad.

Tanvir certainly has the capability to lead the Lions attack, having played 28 T20s for Pakistan, the last coming in 2012, and also playing for various clubs in India, Bangladesh and Australia.

The Lions’ next game will be on Saturday when they face the Knights and they will have to do it without Phangiso, Quinton de Kock and Morris, as the trio will all be part of the Proteas T20 side taking on Pakistan on Friday and Sunday.

“I am looking forward to facing Pakistan. They have some of the best players of spin in the world and it will be great for me to test my skills against guys like that,” said Phangiso.

Phangiso, 29, has two T20 caps and one ODI cap to his name, but has an impressive domestic T20 record – 57 wickets in 62 games.

T20 Challenge standings: 1 Lions 17points, 2 Cobras 8, 3 Titans 6, 4 Warriors 4, 5 Dolphins 2, Knights 0 - Cape Argus


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