Bjorn Fortuin a proud captain after Lions bounce back to win T20 Challenge title

Lions’ captain Bjorn Fortuin lifts the CSA T20 Challenge trophy after they beat the Dolphins in Sunday’s final in Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied by the Lions

Lions’ captain Bjorn Fortuin lifts the CSA T20 Challenge trophy after they beat the Dolphins in Sunday’s final in Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied by the Lions

Published Apr 29, 2024


“I am very proud with the way we bounced back, it showed that we have learnt from our mistakes,” chuffed Lions captain Bjorn Fortuin said shortly after lifting the CSA T20 Challenge trophy following their commanding seven-wicket win with 14 balls to spare over the Dolphins in Johannesburg on Sunday.

While the margin of victory was ultimately comfortable, there were tough periods in the game that our Pride had to overcome. The Dolphins dominated the last five overs of their batting innings to post a competitive 165 for eight, and the DP World Lions had lost three wickets by the halfway stage of their chase.

But just as Fortuin (4-0-24-2) and Codi Yusuf (4-1-16-2) stepped up with the ball, Reeza Hendricks and Wiaan Mulder made light of the situation with the bat, plundering a tremendous unbeaten 85 runs for the fourth wicket off just 48 balls.

Hendricks played the perfect anchoring role, facing the first ball of the innings and batting through to the end to finish with a wonderful 73 not out off 52 balls, including three sixes. Mulder blasted a fiery 55 not out off just 26 balls, with four sixes.

“All of the squad have been responsible for us winning at some stage,” Fortuin said. “It’s nice to see the younger players developing alongside all the very established players we have. The Dolphins batted well after we made it difficult for them at the start, but with our batting line-up, I know if we restrict the opposition to anything close to par, then I’m confident we will chase it down.”

Hendricks and Mulder showed their experience and class during their partnership, when another wicket for the Dolphins could have made for an awkward finish for #ThePrideOfJozi. After Ryan Rickelton (18 off 13) and Hendricks had rushed the DP World Lions to 50 in five-and-a-half overs, the Dolphins struck back with three wickets and did not concede another boundary in the next fifty runs.

But vitally, they could not claim another wicket.

“They really kept us honest in the middle and it was important for me to try and bat deep,” Hendricks said. “It was also important to bat well up front and lay a platform, and we did that between Ryan and myself. One of the top four then had to bat through and today it just happened to be me. At the DP World Wanderers Stadium, you want to take it as deep as possible because with wickets in hand, you can always score well in the last five overs. We did slow down after the powerplay, but we really needed to make sure we didn’t lose another wicket. Wiaan then came in and played an unbelievable knock, it changed the momentum and put the Dolphins under pressure.”

Yusuf did a superb job with the ball in the final over, removing both the set batsmen, Jason Smith (51) and Eathan Bosch (17), and he was impressively cheap, going for just four runs an over in his four-over quota.

“Codi has been massive for us. He was in and out of the team at the beginning of the competition and it is tough for a youngster to be mentally up for it when you get dropped after one game and then come back in and are expected to produce. He has a bright future and he’s not just a white-ball bowler,” captain Fortuin said.

Fortuin himself capped an outstanding season with his telling contribution, ending the competition as the second most economical bowler with a run-rate of just 5.85. The left-arm spinner was only fractionally behind Imraan Manack of Boland (5.83).

Rickelton (441) ended as the second-highest run-scorer, with Hendricks just one run behind, while leg-spinner Nqaba Peter, who bowled three tidy overs before getting some punishment in his fourth on Sunday, took the second-most wickets.

The DP World Lions would like to thank their fans for their support throughout an extremely successful season – roaring loudly and proudly whether in stadium or via our socials.

Cricket South Africa