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Shirin Sadikot in Durban

CLT20 is the biggest thing to happen to me: de Kock

Lions’ teenage batsman says he is technically sounder thanks to CLT20 experience

Quinton de Kock is 19 years old. He has played 14 first-class games since his debut in 2009 and was South Africa’s highest run-getter in the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup. And now, as most boys his age are struggling to get through their exams, de Kock is helping his state team, the Highveld Lions, win the Champions League Twenty20.

They say, well begun is half done. And the Lions began their CLT20, 2012 campaign by defeating the defending champions, Mumbai Indians. Against an attack comprising Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh, the left-hander scored an unbeaten 33-ball 51 to help the Lions chase down 157. Although big scores have eluded him in the matches after that, his potential is for all to see. For a teenager just starting his cricket journey, the experience is invaluable.

“This is a big opportunity for me. I’m just taking it game by game and enjoying the experience. It’s just such a big honour and privilege to play in this tournament,” de Kock told
clt20.com after the Lions’ semi-final victory over the Delhi Daredevils.

A big-hearted bowling effort and some phenomenal work in the field against the star-studded IPL side have earned the home team a place in the final of the tournament that means much more for the Lions than just another title.

“It was a massive game. There was a lot of excitement from the beginning but it’s even more now. It was a tough game and we showed good heart out there. This win will give us a lot of confidence. Knowing this pitch, we got the score that we wanted and the bowlers fought very well out there,” he said.

The 22-run win over one of the strongest sides in the competition will undoubtedly boost the morale of the Lions ahead of the big final. But personally too, there’s a lot for de Kock to take away from the tournament already.

“I’ve learnt quite a bit; many technical things and how to do things differently against different teams and players,” the attacking southpaw said, proving there is a mature head on those strong but young shoulders. When asked if he was ready for some big career-defining opportunities to come his way, he said, “I’m not really expecting anything as of now. My batting is just a bit out of order.”

The Lions are one win away from being crowned CLT20 2012 champions. And if they take the final step in the right direction, their life will never be the same.

“At this point in my career, a CLT20 victory will be the biggest thing to have ever happened to me. I’m sure it is for all the boys. If we win, it will be really a big moment for us and our franchise.”

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