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Cricket | Sunfoil Series

Neil McKenzie © Gallo Images

Lions on the verge of victory

The bizhub Highveld Lions are on the verge of victory in their Sunfoil Series match against the Nashua Titans in Benoni.

Live Scoring – Lions v Titans

When stumps were drawn on Friday, the Lions were on 74 without loss, needing just another 107 runs for victory.

Hardus Viljoen blew the Titans away in their second innings, and the openers ran riot before the end of the day.

After 12 wickets had fallen on day one, wickets continued to fall like ninepins on the second day.

The Lions resumed on 149 for two, but lost both overnight batsmen, Neil McKenzie on 70 and Dominic Hendricks on 57, without addition to the total.

The Lions lost their last eight wickets for 53 in 16 overs, posting a total of 202.

The Titans found themselves behind by just seven runs, when a much bigger deficit had been on the cards.

Ethy Mbhalati finished with four for 48 after taking the first wicket of the day, while Rowan Richards had a three-over spell which saw a wicket in each. CJ de Villiers also had two early wickets.

The success with the ball did not rub off on the batsmen. Both openers were dismissed in the seven overs possible before lunch.

There was some resistance from Henry Davids, but he went just after the break for 30.

Heino Kuhn made 42 off 70 balls in making the top score of the innings.

He and David Wiese had a partnership of 42, the highest of the innings, but when they went in successive Chris Morris overs, the writing was on the wall.

Mbhalati held the Lions up for a while, but when he became Viljoen's sixth victim, the Titans were all out for just 187. This left the Lions with 181 to win in over two days.

Viljoen was magnificent, reproducing some of his one-day form, as he ripped through the lower order. He finished with six for 24 in twelve overs, and had a match return of nine for 87.

Morris took three for 35, duplicating his first-innings return, and the remaining wicket went to Cliffe Deacon.

The Lions openers got on with the job as if it was the last day.

Twelve runs were already on the board when play was interrupted by a shower, but there was no let-up for the Titans bowlers when play resumed.

By the close of play Stephen Cook and Hendricks had put on 74 in 14 overs against a demoralised attack.

The Lions will be mindful of their first-innings collapse when play resumes on day three, but the wise money will be on a Lions victory that would put them on top of the log with two matches to play.

Their only regret will be their failure to score more than 2.04 batting bonus points, taking their match tally to 6.04 with the 10 match points still up for grabs.

The Titans look as if they will have to settle for the 5.9 bonus points they have earned, which will leave the defending champions rooted at the bottom of the log.

Report Day 1

TITANS: Jacques Rudolph, Francois le Clus, Henry Davids (capt), Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Shaun von Berg, CJ de Villiers, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards.

LIONS: Stephen Cook (capt), Dominic Hendricks (wk), Temba Bavuma, Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Thami Tsolekile, Brett Pelser, Cliffe Deacon, Christopher Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Eddie Leie.


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