McKenzie, Bavuma ram home another Lions win
A CRUCIAL unbroken 60-run partnership between Temba Bavuma and Neil McKenzie helped the Highveld Lions consolidate their position on top of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge table with a six-wicket win over the Warriors at Kingsmead in Durban yesterday.
Veteran McKenzie topscored with 46 off 38 balls, while the stylish Bavuma plundered a no-nonsense 37 off 21 as the men from Johannesburg made heavy weather of chasing their victory target of 127.
This was after a good effort from the fast bowlers, particularly Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2/26) and Chris Morris (2/20), set them on their way against an Eastern Cape outfit lacking bite. Simon Harmer top scored with an unbeaten 38 off 26 balls after the top order failed to fire for the competition’s secondbottom side.
The Lions made the most of their decision to win the toss and bowl first by reducing the Warriors to 55/5 by the 13th over. That start was set up by Tsotsobe and Morris, with the latter dismissing Jon-Jon Smuts (8) in the second over, caught by Hardus Viljoen at mid-on. Fast bowler Viljoen had new man Colin Ingram (5) splendidly caught by Jean Symes at cover, while English import Craig Kieswetter (8) fended off a rising Morris delivery to Bavuma running in from point. The 50 came up in the 11th over, before Somila Seyibokwe (7) and Yaseen Vallie (25), signed on loan from the Cape Cobras, added to the wickets column. However, Harmer and Christiaan Jonker combined for a much-needed 56-run stand in 6.3 overs, which included the 100 brought up in the 18th over.
Jonker (25) and Rusty Theron (0) were dismissed from successive deliveries as the Warriors stumbled to 126.
The Lions hardly seemed in a rush during the early part of their chase. They reached 20 in the fifth over, before losing Rassie van der Dussen (10) to a wonderful Jonker catch running back from point – Basheer Walters the bowler.
Alviro Petersen took his time to make 30 in 42 balls, and after helping the Gauteng side cross 50 in the 11th over, he was bowled by Harmer. A double strike by Smuts (2/24), dismissing Dwaine Pretorius (1) and Symes (0), increased the Lions’ nerves as they fell to 70/4 with only six overs to play.
Bavuma and McKenzie then raised the tempo, initially taking their side past 100 in the 17th over, followed by the 50 in 31 balls to take their side over the line with three balls to spare.
Meanwhile, West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard starred with bat and ball to help the Cape Cobras stun the Titans by four runs in their game at Kingsmead yesterday.
The clash, the first of three at the venue in a triple-header, saw the Cape side set 170 after losing the toss and being asked to bat first.
Pollard plundered four sixes in his knock of 56 off 29 deliveries to set his side on their way, before delivering a superb final over that went for six and claimed two wickets to leave the Pretoria side short.
Qaasim Adams with 68 runs off 36 was the star for the Titans, although his efforts proved in vain as the winless franchise failed to make the most of the overcast conditions.
The big-hitting Pollard only managed 18 from his first 17 balls, but then found his range in the final three overs when he bludgeoned 38 from the next 12 balls to power his side to 169/6.
In reply, the Titans made a strong start by reaching 26 in four overs, and they were always in with a chance.
Eleven were needed from the final over, but Pollard took out both dangermen, David Wiese and countryman Darren Sammy, to seal a memorable win. – Sapa