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Crunch time as the Lions put pressure firmly on chasing the pack

Janneman Malan
Janneman Malan
©Cricket South Africa
 

The 4-Day Domestic Series season reaches crunch time for the five teams trying to wrestle the title away from the Imperial Lions as they begin round seven across the country from Monday.

The Johannesburg-based side won the first-class crown last season and are steaming along in their quest to defend it again in 2019/20, having won four out of six games – two more than anyone else. They have already amassed a total of 115.26 points, more than 20 clear of the second-placed Warriors (94.38) and more than 35 ahead of the VKB Knights (79.58) in third.

And with only four rounds remaining, the chasing pack have no option but to win in order to keep alive their hopes of toppling the Lions.

Wandile Gwavu’s side travel to the bottom-of-the-table Hollywoodbets Dolphins (61.38) for the latest set of games, with the match set to be played at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg.

Despite their position, the hosts can take plenty of confidence into the game after finally snapping their winless start to the term when they beat the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras (66.94) in the previous round.

“It was obviously a great win for the Dolphins,” captain Marques Ackerman said. “We’ve been struggling a bit with our four-day campaign, but it’s the second half of the season now and the boys have working really hard to turn it around.

“It was just a matter of time before we turned things around. Hopefully that was the turnaround moment for us in the season.”

The Lions are also helped in round seven by the fact that the two teams immediately behind them – the Warriors and Knights – are facing off in East London.

Both will need to push hard for a result at Buffalo Park to keep pace with the leaders.

 The final fixture sees the fourth-placed Momentum Multiply Titans (77.28) travel to Cape Town to take on the Cobras at Newlands.