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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

We’ve improved with each game: Petersen

Lions skipper wants his team to step up another level in CLT20 2012 grand finale

The Highveld Lions entered CLT20 2012 with the aim of bettering their performance from the 2010 edition. And now they find themselves on the cusp of glory, competing in the final of the tournament in their own backyard.

This season, the Lions have seemed a team hungry to win. They have won four out of five games in the tournament so far, including the semi-final and have done so quite commandingly. None of them have been close games, only comfortable wins.

Their solitary loss was against their opponents in the final, the Sydney Sixers. When they take the field at the Wanderers on Sunday, the Lions would want to avenge that defeat. If they do, they will walk away with the glittering CLT20 silverware.

Ahead of the big finale, Lions skipper Alviro Petersen spoke with the same intent and simplicity that has been the hallmark of his team throughout the tournament. Without any drama, he just said, “It will be a great honour for us to win this final.”

Here are snippets from his media conference:

On the Lions’ performance so far

I thought we played good cricket throughout the tournament and won key moments in crucial games. Up until the semi-final I thought we were going up to 75 percent. In the semi-final I asked my boys to step it up a bit, which we did. From that point of view, I think we improved as the tournament progressed. We were always confident and it was just the case of executing our skills. We made some good decisions under pressure. We took a lot of confidence out of our first four games of the tournament. Obviously, home conditions have played a massive role.

On the Lions’ loss against the Sixers in the Group stage

Despite losing against Sydney Sixers, we played some good cricket. It was just the case of one or two bad overs. Cape Town was very different to what Wanderers would be.

On the team’s tendency to lose in the final

I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve gone in this tournament and have improved with each game. Even after that semi-final performance, there’s still a room for improvement. Maybe in the past we haven’t executed our skills well in the big finals. This time we’ll ensure we do it.

On the bowling attacks of both teams

We’re pretty much the same in the way our team and bowling attack is formed. From that point of view, we’re probably closely matched. The Sixers have one of the better bowling units and I think it will be a close contest between the two bowling attacks.

On what will be the key for them in the final

It’s going to be a very close game. One or two overs will decide where the game is going. We’re familiar with the conditions at the Wanderers. If you compare the two bowling line-ups, there’s pace in both of them. I think the middle overs will be important. We’ve dominated that period in almost all our games and I think that will play a massive role once again.

On Michael Lumb’s comment that the Sixers will do alright if they dismiss Neil McKenzie early

I’m glad it came from him. We’ll see what happens tomorrow and only after the game I’ll be able to answer that question. I’d love to answer that question though.

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