Pretorius was one of the Lions’ star performers in a 148-run victory against the Warriors, kepting the franchise firmly in touch in the Sunfoil Series. Less than six points separate the top four teams heading towards the halfway point, underlining just how important the weekend win was.
Pretorius’ overall role was key, too. He became the first Lions player to make 90 or more runs in one innings and then follow it up with a five-for’ with the ball.
“I’m just chuffed that all the hard work I did in the off-season is paying off,” Pretorius - who finished the match with an aggregate of 125 runs, 97 of which came in the Lions’ first innings and match figures of 7/128, with first innings figures of 6/81 - said yesterday.
“It’s always great to contribute to a win, but there were other guys too, like Hardus Viljoen (who took 5/29 in the Warriors’ second innings) and Nicky (van den Bergh, who scored 95 in the Lions’ first innings) who contributed too.”
Pretorius was part of the Proteas squad that beat Australia 5-0 earlier in the month, and the benefits of working in that elite environment have proved helpful for the Lions.
“It just made me want to work extra hard. You get to work with (Neil McKenzie, Charl Langeveldt, Adrian Birrell) and they made a great impact. All I want to do is to keep improving because I definitely want to be apart of that squad again.
“The most important thing I took from my time there was understanding my strengths and weaknesses. It’s important not to be scared to admit where your limitations are,” he said.
Since returning to the Lions, after picking up three ODI caps, Pretorius has been a model of excellence and consistency. He’s made three half-centuries in four innings and the only criticism one could level at him is that having made three scores of 80-plus, at least one of those should have been turned into a hundred. With the ball he’s claimed eight wickets, but the control he provides while Viljoen spits fire at the other end, has made them a mighty effective new ball duo.
“(The Lions) are a pretty inexperienced side, we’ve got a lot of youngsters and I’m sure if you’d offered the coach two wins and a draw from our first four matches at the start of the season he’d have taken it. But we also don’t want to use the fact that we are a young team as an excuse. it’s up to the senior guys like myself, Hardus, Rassie (van der Dussen) and Phangi (Aaron Phangiso) to share our experience and get the younger guys up to speed.”
The Lions play a crucial derby against the Titans starting in Potchefstroom this Thursday. The defending champions have shaken off a shaky start in which they lost their first two matches, and have subsequently claimed a pair of big wins against the Dolphins and the hapless Cape Cobras to surge to the top of the log: “They’ve got some good momentum going now. We’ll need a solid performance in Potch. We don’t need them getting too far ahead at this stage, before the competition takes a break.”
The StarTime spent with the national team is key to Dwaine Pretorius shining for the Lions with bat and ball, writes Stuart Hess.
Original source: Pretorius benefits from time with Proteas