Lions win in tense chase
The Highveld Lions beat the Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in tense chase in their Karbonn Smart Champions League T20 clash at Sahara Park Newlands on Tuesday.
Full Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings v Lions
The Super Kings posted a very competitive total of 158-6 in their 20 overs, thanks largely to late charge from MS Dhoni and Subramaniam Badrinath who combined for a blistering 50-run partnership, but in the end it was the Lions who came out top in a thrilling chase, winning the match with three balls still to spare.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the Lions were smacked to all corners of the park by Faf du Plessis and Murali Vijay as the two got their team off to a flying start adding 44 runs for the opening partnership before Chris Morris got the breakthrough thanks to a stunning catch from Aaron Phangiso.
Morris bowled a tad slower and Du Plessis got a top edge to it, it looked like the ball might land safely, but Phangiso ran back from point, throwing himself at the ball like a rag doll and clutching it.
After a quick look from the third umpire, the Lions had their first breakthrough, but Chennai were still looking solid. More drama followed from Phangiso just a few overs later, when he came on to bowl in the ninth over. Raina decided to have a go at the spinner, waltzing down the track and hitting the half volley over the bowler's head for six.
This video is not available in your region
He lobbed the next ball straight back to the bowler and Phangiso almost had his second blinder of the match as he managed to clutch the ball with his pinkies, but after some deliberation from the umpires, Raina got a life as the ball had just brushed the turf.
Thanks to a blistering 50-run partnership between MS Dhoni and Subramaniam Badrinath, Chennai managed to post a competitive total of 158-6 in their 20 overs.
In their reply, the Lions got off to a disastrous starting losing two wickets early on, both of them being collected by Dough Bollinger.
Alviro Petersen was gone first ball, trapped leg before, and Quinton de Kock didn't last much longer before was caught behind and the Lions were looking rather shaky on 8-2.
Neil McKenzie and Gulam Bodi then combined for a 93-run partnership off 65 balls to steady the ship and give the Lions a little bit of hope. Bodi had brought up his 50 off 38 balls before he was caught behind off the bowling of Albie Morkel and with five overs left, the Lions required 52 more runs in what was building up to be a tense chase.
McKenzie was dismissed in the 17th over thanks to a sublime effort from Suresh Raina who made up miles running in from long on and stretching forward to pouch a howler - the only consolation for Ravi Ashwin who had an atrocious evening with the ball in hand.
That same over which yielded the McKenzie wicket also brought the Lions 14 runs and things were tense with 30 required off 18 balls.
Jean Symes kept his cool and kept on picking up the boundaries while trusting Chris Morris enough to rotate the strike and help keep the required rate under control.
The Lions needed nine runs off the final over and after Morris took a single off the first ball bowled by Morkel, Symes stayed calm and slapped two consecutive fours to take him to an unbeaten 39 off 23 and help his side claim their second win on the trot.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Subramaniam Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus
LIONS: Gulam Bodi, Alviro Petersen (capt), Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Jean Symes, Thami Tsolekile (wk), Zander de Bruyn, Chris Morris, Sohail Tanvir, Aaron Phangiso, Dirk Nannes