Knights hold nerve, pip Lions
A wonderful knock from Jean Symes was not enough to prevent the bizhub Highveld Lions from losing their first match of the season against the Chevrolet Knights in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Full scorecard – Lions v Knights
Chasing a modest victory target of 126 to win in 20 overs, the hosts were restricted to 121 for eight, despite Symes scoring 46 off 37 deliveries with three fours and two massive sixes.
The Lions started off slowly thanks mainly to Ryan McLaren, whose first three overs cost just nine runs and accounted for Gulam Bodi (2) and Quinton de Kock (9).
McLaren came back to bowl the penultimate over and conceded just seven runs, ending with 4-0-16-2.
With the Lions requiring 14 from the last six balls, Symes struck Johan van der Wath for six off the first ball, and then took two off the next, but Van der Wath kept his cool to keep the hosts out.
Temba Bavuma (1) was run out trying to steal a single while Symes lost his wicket the next ball, caught by Shadley van Schalkwyk at long on.
Only two other batsmen managed double figures with Alviro Petersen scoring 29 off 30 balls and Neil McKenzie managing 17.
A key point in the match came in the 11th over when Nicky Boje (2-20) struck twice in the space of three balls, removing Petersen and then Sohail Tanveer (6), who hit the spinner for six off his first ball.
It was a wonderful defensive effort from the Knights, after they had been sent in to bat after the Lions won the toss.
The Knights could muster only 125 for nine with Rilee Rossouw taking his season run tally to 129 runs by scoring 33.
McLaren added some respectability to the score by scoring 24 off 18 balls with two fours and a six.
Tanveer gave a brilliant display of economical bowling, returning figures of 4-0-15-1, while the Lions' "spin twins" of Aaron Phangiso (2-25) and Imran Tahir (2-23) placed a stranglehold on the Knights' batsmen.
Hardus Viljoen also picked up two wickets, while conceding 29 runs in his four overs of pace.
The Knights have now won two from two and move into third position on the log with nine points. The Lions still maintain a seven-point lead at the top of the log, despite their first defeat.
The Knights next face the Nashua Titans, who are just one point ahead, in Centurion on Wednesday while the Lions travel to Cape Town next Friday to face the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: Quinton de Kock (wk), Gulam Bodi, Alviro Petersen (capt), Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Sohail Tanveer, Jean Symes, Dwaine Pretorius, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Hardus Viljoen.
CHEVROLET KNIGHTS: Loots Bosman, Rilee Rossouw, Dean Elgar, Pite van Biljon, Obus Pienaar, Ryan McLaren, Gihahn Cloete (wk), Nicky Boje, Johan van der Wath (capt), Shadley van Schalkwyk, Malusi Siboto.