Kagiso Rabada (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada says he is proud of the role he played in helping the Lions claim the T20 Challenge Series on Sunday.
Rabada was outstanding in the final, taking three for 12 in his allotted four overs as the Lions beat the Dolphins by four wickets at Kingsmead in Durban.
“It feels good to win this title,” said Rabada after his match winning spell.
“First of all, I really wanted to play, to be involved and to find some good form. Also, to be playing for the Lions… I haven’t played for them in quite a while. It’s nice to be involved where it all started and what better way to end than with a trophy.
“It’s been amazing playing with my Lions team-mates this past week, it’s been a really chilled environment and when we did get onto the field, we delivered. It was a great environment to be part of.”
Rabada played in six out of seven matches during the tournament.
He took nine wickets at an average of 15.33.
Team-mate Sisanda Magala was the most successful bowler for the Lions, bagging 13 wickets. Both were part of a star-studded team available to coach Wandile Gwavu.
Rabada believes that the bowling unit helped secure the Lions the title by putting the Dolphins under pressure from the start with early wickets.
“It was definitely set up by the way we bowled. We have to give credit to the bowlers, they were excellent in a game where they needed to be at their best.
“We did that and restricted them to 107, which means we’re making it a lot easier. There were some nerves towards the end, but I think the good work done earlier in the game made it easier for us to get over the line.”
Lions captain Temba Bavuma was equally impressed by their performances with the ball.
“I’m obviously super proud of the boys and their effort,” he stated. “It’s been an excellent campaign for us. We obviously came here with the trophy in sight and that’s what we managed to achieve.
“It was an all-round performance with the bowlers obviously setting the tone for us, they’ve been the heartbeat for us in each game, and the batters then coming right closer to the end of the tournament.”
Apart from their bowlers taking the plaudits, their batsmen too shone – and in particular top run-scorer Reeza Hendricks, who ended with a tournament-leading aggregate of 257 in seven innings.
But the Lions did wobble in their low chase on Sunday, although Bavuma defended their display with the bat.
“It was a final and there was no easy route here,” he concluded. “We played against the Dolphins and they’re a competitive outfit. I guess we weren’t expecting things to get that close, but we still had confidence in the guys. It’s a four-wicket victory in the end, it was close but it is a four-wicket win.
“It was a final and you expect your big guns to step up. The beauty about our team is that responsibility is not shirked, and everyone knows that when it’s their day they need to make it count for the team and that’s been the mantra for our team.”