Obus stuns Lions
Obus Pienaar stroked the fastest fifty of the competition as the Chevrolet Knights brought the bizhub Highveld Lions’ four-game winning streak to an end with a six-wicket victory over the log-leaders in a rain-reduced Momentum One-Day Cup match at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday.
Full Scorecard – Lions v Knights
After a battling knock of 67 off 105 balls from the experienced Neil McKenzie lifted the Lions to 250 for seven in their fifty overs, a passing thunderstorm twice halted play just after the break, reducing the Knights' target to 204 off 33 overs.
The foundation for the Knights’ second victory in the competition was laid in the middle overs where Nicky Boje (10-2-33-1) and Werner Coetsee (10-0-37-2) tied the Lions batsmen down and dragged back a run rate that threatened to get out of control.
Lions skipper Stephen Cook played superbly in his knock of 52 from 58 balls, and together with Quinton de Kock took the score to 87 in the 16th over before De Kock fell to Boje’s first ball, a gentle full toss that found Rilee Rossouw’s waiting hands at midwicket.
Zander de Bruyn (25 off 43) and Chris Morris (30 off 17) chipped in, but with Knights captain Ryan McLaren shrewdly rotating his bowlers to keep the scoring down, the Lions had McKenzie’s gutsy knock to thank as they went into the break with 250 to defend.
The Knights were positive from the outset in pursuit of victory with openers Michael Erlank and Werner Coetsee putting on 41 before Coetsee departed for 11 off 22 in the 10th over, chopping a Pumelela Matshikwe delivery onto his stumps.
This video is not available in your region
The Lions attack, so successful this season, never got to grips with the conditions after the rain break, even after De Bruyn had removed Rilee Rossouw for two in the 11th over, and Matshikwe got rid of Ryan Bailey in the 15th with the total on 75.
Pienaar then joined Erlank at the crease and immediately breathed new life into the innings, playing some exquisite shots all around the wicket. The pair brought up the 100 in the 18th over as Pienaar slammed back-to-back boundaries off Matshikwe.
Pienaar’s timing was superb as he took three consecutive boundaries off Aaron Phangiso’s fourth over, subjecting the Lions spin ace to some rare punishment and followed that up by pounding De Bruyn for four in the next over, bringing up the 50 partnership.
Cook was forced to recall his opening bowler Hardus Viljoen in an effort to get the breakthrough, and true to form, the big quick did not disappoint, inducing Erlank (52 off 79, 4x4 1x6) into a mis-timed pull shot to mid-on where Grant Mokoena took the catch.
Pienaar was joined by McLaren who wasted no time either, reverse-sweeping Jean Symes for four first ball and bringing up the Knights' 150 with a second boundary off the fifth ball of the same over.
Pienaar, meanwhile, raced to the fastest fifty of the tournament, bringing up the half-century in the 27th over off just 30 balls with eight scintillating boundaries.
The pair proceeded to trade boundaries in a breath-taking partnership of 64 runs off just 7.5 overs, with McLaren paddling the winning runs past keeper De Kock for four in the 32nd over to finish on 41 off 30 balls and the superb Pienaar settling for a blistering 67 from 43 not out.
The result opens up the competition with the Knights moving up to third spot on nine points and the Lions still sitting on top with 19 points from five games.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: Stephen Cook (captain), Grant Mokoena, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Zander de Bruyn, Jean Symes, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Ethan O'Reilly
CHEVROLET KNIGHTS: Michael Erlank, Werner Coetsee, Rilee Rossouw, Ryan Bailey, Obus Pienaar, Ryan McLaren (captain) Nicky Boje, Johan van der Wath, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Duanne Olivier, Jean-Pierre Triegaardt