Amla helped take Lions hero Potgieter to the next level

Delano Potgieter of the DP Lions celebrates his 150 against Western Province. | BackpagePix

Delano Potgieter of the DP Lions celebrates his 150 against Western Province. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 5, 2024


Delano Potgieter of the DP Lions celebrates his 150 against Western Province. | BackpagePix

Zaahier Adams

Delano Potgieter has praised Proteas legend Hashim Amla for his role in helping him play a starring role for the Lions in the Cricket SA Four-Day Series final.

Potgieter was the unequivocal player of the match for his superb performances with the bat. Coming in at No 8, the all-rounder played two pivotal innings of 81 and a career-best 155 not out to initially get the Lions out of a deep hole before pushing them into a winning position.

It set in motion one of the greatest comebacks in domestic cricket history as the Lions recorded a 99-run victory over their arch-rivals Western Province at the Wanderers.

Amla, who holds the record for the highest Test score by a Proteas batter, joined the Lions at the beginning of the season as the team’s batting coach. The bearded wonder has certainly left an impression on Potgieter, who is also coached by Amla at MI Cape Town during the SA20.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” a Potgieter said.

“To have my career best at the Wanderers, in a final, is next level. I feel amazing and I can’t really explain how it happened.

“I’m just so happy for the team and for myself. It’s been a hard season for me because I have not played much, but Hashim Amla said if I keep working hard then the rewards will come. And the final brought exactly that.”

Potgieter could not have achieved the near-impossible without the help of the Lions tail, which just kept wagging in both innings. There were particularly crucial contributions from Bjorn Fortuin, Codi Yusuf and last man Malusi Siboto, while seamer Tshepo Moreki also struck a half-century as a nightwatchman in the second innings.

The all-rounder fully acknowledged their efforts.

“It’s amazing” Potgieter said, “what a time to do it when conditions were obviously not easy. But big credit to Wiaan (Mulder) Codi Yusuf, Temba Bavuma, Bjorn and Malusi Siboto for batting with me so well.

“The lower order, with Tshepo Moreki, also played an incredible role and I could not be more proud of them. It was a great win, unbelievable really, and I could not be more happy to win a trophy in my first season back with the Lions, and it’s the hardest trophy to win.”

Russell Domingo. | BackpagePix

Lions coach Russell Domingo was full of praise for his entire squad for their heroic comeback, but could not help singling out Potgieter for his monumental individual performance.

“I am really proud of the whole squad,” Domingo said.

"We showed really good character. We had to be tough mentally, stick to our game plans and fight hard. We had to stay calm.

“This will be a game we will think about in 20 years’ time and it’s one of the best wins I’ve experienced. Delano was magnificent.

“He only played a few games but he did really well last week in Centurion and he brought that confidence here. He only came in because Wiaan couldn’t bowl and we needed that fourth seamer. And then he plays one of the best final innings you’ll ever see,” Domingo concluded.