Lions prevail in Port Elizabeth
The bizhub Highveld Lions progressed to their second consecutive bonus-point win in the Momentum One Day Cup when they beat the Chevrolet Warriors by six wickets at Axxess DSL St George's in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Full Scorecard – Warriors v Lions
However, an inspired bowling change from Warriors skipper Davy Jacobs nearly sparked an unlikely comeback as the Lions hunted down the modest 111 required for victory.
After an earlier combination of some excellent Stephen Cook captaincy and a wonderfully skilled display of bowling from a committed Highveld Lions unit had blasted the Warriors out for just 110 off 35.4 overs, the Lions had progressed relatively painlessly to 61/1 after 14 overs.
After persisting with opening bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Andrew Birch for seven overs apiece upfront, for the wicket of just Gulam Bodi, Warriors skipper Davy Jacobs rang the changes and instantly reaped the rewards.
Jacobs brought on Wayne Parnell in the 15th over, who promptly spread de Kock’s stumps in his first over, the talented 19-year old departing for an entertaining 34 off 40 balls, with six boundaries.
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Basheer Walters then came into the attack and trapped captain Stephen Cook lbw with his first ball to set the Lions dressing room on edge.
Replays however suggested umpire Murray Brown had missed a big edge and Cook could regard himself as a little unlucky to be given out.
Newcomer Temba Bavuma lasted all of four balls before Walters slipped in an excellent yorker and the Lions were 61 for four, Bavuma out for a duck.
Earlier, as a soft drizzle started to drift across the ground, Quinton de Kock had unleashed back to back boundaries in Ntini’s seventh consecutive over, forcing the former Protea to change angles and come around the wicket.
De Kock was lucky to survive the next ball, bottom-edging it between stumps and pad for four streaky runs.
That was enough for Jacobs and he turned the game on its head with a bowling change from both ends. In the space of nine balls, the Lions had slipped from 60 for one to 61 for four.
However the Warriors could not engineer any further surprises, and simply did not have enough runs on the board to challenge the Lions, as Neil McKenzie steered the Lions out of danger with an assured 29 off 44 balls.
The Warriors had earlier won the toss and chose to bat on a slow, dry pitch against a quality Lions attack and were immediately under pressure as Hardus Viljoen removed Michael Price’s off-stump with a ball that jagged back from a good length with his score on five in the fourth over.
JJ Smuts was next to fall to the impressive Chris Morris, who had Smuts driving at the last ball of the seventh over, only to nick it straight to Neil McKenzie who snapped up the chance at first slip.
Disaster struck when Colin Ingram was run out after setting off for an ill-judged second run off ViIjoen’s fourth over. Gulam Bodi returned an accurate throw to Quinton de Kock who gathered the half-volley and broke the stumps to send the dangerous Ingram back to the pavilion for one.
Lions skipper Stephen Cook then tossed the ball to the in-form Aaron Phangiso in the 19th over and he did not disappoint his captain. He claimed the left-handed Ashwell Prince’s wicket with the penultimate ball of his second over – lbw for a grinding 21 off 51 balls.
Phangiso followed that up by bringing a promising partnership between Davy Jacobs and Wayne Parnell of 29 to an abrupt end when he trapped Jacobs lbw for 34 to leave the Warriors 97 for five.
Parnell followed soon after, slashing a Zander de Bruyn delivery hard and low to point where Temba Bavuma pulled off an excellent tumbling catch.
At the other end, Phangiso trapped Simon Harmer on the crease in the 31st over to leave the home side in desperate trouble at 100 for seven.
Stephen Cook then skillfully and aggressively brought back opening bowler Hardus Viljoen who cleaned up the tail by bowling Andrew Birch middle stump for two, and had Basheer Walters caught at slip for a duck off the second ball he faced.
Craig Thyssen swung lustily but offered up a simple catch to mid-off as the Warriors succumbed to finish on 110 all out.
Viljoen bowled superbly for his figures of four for 17 off 9 overs to continue his impressive run in the competition, while Phangiso finished with three for 16 off his nine overs. For the Warriors, Walters finished with two for 26.
The Lions now move up to 10 points on the Momentum One Day Cup log with two wins from two, while the Warriors have yet to register a win in the competition.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS - Stephen Cook (capt), Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock (w/k), Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Jean Symes, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Ethan O'Reilly, Temba Bavuma
CHEVROLET WARRIORS: Davy Jacobs (capt, w/k), Jon-Jon Smuts, Ashwell Prince, Colin Ingram, Michael Price, Craig Thyssen, Wayne Parnell, Makhaya Ntini, Andrew Birch, Basheer Walters, Simon Harmer.