The Star Early Edition

Lions hang on for a draw with the Cobras

- CRICKET REPORTER

SOME lower-order doggedness by the bizhub Highveld Lions, added to a third career century by Dwaine Pretorius, helped secure an unlikely Sunfoil Series draw against the Cape Cobras in Paarl late yesterday.

The visitors were left holding on for dear life by the close when they ended an epic final day on 287/9 from 140 overs in their follow-on innings.

Spearheade­d by a magnificen­t 101 from 178 balls by Pretorius, the Lions had several heroes through the day, but many plaudits will go to the final wicket pair of Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie. Phangiso, in particular, batted for 20 minutes short of two hours at the end for a stubborn 16 from 85 balls, while number No 11 Leie was unbeaten on one from 39 balls having batted for 48 minutes. They batted for over 14 overs together to ensure the hard work done by Pretorius, who batted for over four hours, was not wasted.

There were other heroes too for the Johannesbu­rg franchise with Nicky van den Bergh making 28 in a little over three hours. The rookie wicketkeep­er and Pretorius adding 112 together for the sixth wicket in 43.3 overs.

Earlier, Rassie van der Dussen (72) and Shaylen Pillay (26) played their part too as the Lions maintained their unbeaten start to the season. They walked away with 4.04 points, but still dropped to third on the table.

The Cobras, who ended their twogame losing streak, had Robin Peterson to thank for taking them so close after his 4/88. They took away 9.04 points from the game and jumped to fifth.

THE Sunfoil Dolphins and Warriors had to settle for five points apiece after the final day of their Sunfoil Series clash at the Pietermari­tzburg Oval was abandoned before the scheduled start yesterday.

No play was possible on any of the previous three days due to rain at first, with bad light, a wet outfield and a damp pitch all playing a role as time wore on. There had been a toss midway through day two, but poor light prevented any action.

After more overnight rain on Saturday, umpires Johan Cloete and Stephen Harris decided to end the game early.

Rilee Rossouw completed what he started on day two by leading the VKB Knights to an upset victory over the top-of-the-table Unlimited Titans early on the third morning of their in Bloemfonte­in on Saturday.

The returning Proteas batsman fell three short of his century, but his 97 just about did enough to carry the hosts to a five-wicket win at the Mangaung Oval.

Rossouw, whose aggressive 89ball knock included one six and 14 fours, fell eight runs shy of the 253 victory target as the Knights made heavy weather of the chase during the closing moments. This after Marchant de Lange picked up three wickets in four balls to end with 3/64.

Resuming on 214/2 and with only 39 more required, the home team needed just 11.2 further overs on day three, with Rudi Second ending unbeaten on 41 to help his side over the line.

Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks (69) apart, it was mainly a forgettabl­e match for the batsmen on both sides. There was also a half-century for Qaasim Adams (69), but the Titans look set to lose their top spot on the table after round three.

They picked up just four points in defeat, while the Knights collected 14.

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