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CLT20 Staff in Cape Town

We want to be trendsetters: Symes

After match-winning knock against CSK, Lions batsman wants other teams to take them seriously

The Highveld Lions’ CLT20 2012 campaign was seemingly going down the same lane as the one in 2010 – a win over the Mumbai Indians and then a loss. Chasing 159 on the pacy and bouncy Newlands wicket against the bowling attack comprising Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus and Albie Morkel, the Lions needed 44 runs off 22 balls when they lost their fourth wicket.

Just when the pressure was mounting, a young man put his hand up to ensure the South African franchise didn’t repeat the mistake they committed two years ago. He held his nerve and saw the Lions past the finishing line with a 39-run knock off 23 balls.

“In the past people saw the Lions as a team that fights from behind. This time we were out to change that perception. We wanted to lead and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Jean Symes said, after his match-winning effort against the Chennai Super Kings.

“We want to lead from the front and want other teams to take us seriously. We’re setting the trend now that’s the kind of cricket we want to play.”

The pressure was immense on the young man and he was up against some quality bowlers on a wicket that suited his opposition more than him. But his confidence in his own abilities and a solid temperament saw him through.

“We also have some international bowlers who we play against often. If you take the name away from the bowler and play each ball as it comes, it doesn’t really affect you that much. I just tried to keep a calm and clear head and play every ball on merit,” Symes said.

A few were surprised by the Lions’ decision to insert the opposition in on a wicket on which not many teams have been successful while chasing. However, Symes said that the team decided to stick to their plans and play to their own strengths.

According to Symes, the decision also stemmed from the team’s past performances on this ground. “We had a game here against the Cape Cobras a while ago and we lost it by a run chasing 180. That’s a pretty high score especially for a ground like this. So, coming here, we had the confidence and players with the ability to do it.

“I think we’d have liked for the target to be about 15 runs lower, but at the end of the day whatever gets set you’ve got to chase it down,” he said.
While Symes played the finisher to perfection in the win over CSK, he revealed his role in the team keeps varying according to the team’s needs.
“To be honest my role is quite flexible. We’ve got a big hitter like Chris Morris and we have different players for different parts of the game. My role changes depending on what the team requires, whether it is working the ball in the middle overs or playing the finisher.”

The Lions have defeated two big IPL teams now, in MI and CSK. While Symes revels in that result, he knows the job is only half done.
“It’s nice and a good experience playing against some of the greatest players out there. But as a team we’ve got to take it as it comes; one game, one over and one ball at a time.”

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