McKenzie, Pretorius secure win for Lions
Neil McKenzie and Dwaine Pretorius combined for a match-winning partnership to lead the bizhub Highveld Lions to a seven-wicket win over the Nashua Titans in their RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Full Scorecard – Lions v Titans
McKenzie weighed in with 32 not out off 34 balls while the big-hitting Pretorius smashed his way to 42 off 20 balls with three fours and four sixes as the duo put on a 62-run third-wicket stand off just 5.3 overs as the Lions reached 150 for three with seven balls of their innings remaining in reply to the Titans’ 148 for seven.
The Lions had looked in a spot of bother as they battled their way to 109 for two after 16 overs, still needing 40 runs for victory off 24 balls on a difficult pitch to bat on with plenty of variable bounce.
But McKenzie showed all his experience to hold the innings together while Pretorius provided the big-hitting to steer the Lions to the brink of victory.
Pretorius departed with the hosts needing just three runs for victory when he was superbly caught by a diving Jacques Rudolph at mid-off off the bowling of seamer Ethy Mbhalati but the damage had already been done.
The Titans will rue some poor fielding which saw them put down two catches and miss a stumping as the Lions secured their second consecutive victory.
Play had been delayed for 23 minutes during the Lions’ innings because of a floodlight failure before Quinton de Kock and Gulam Bodi (17) put on a 38-run opening stand before the left-handed Bodi was bowled by Mbhalati.
De Kock, after his 126 not out in his previous match, carried on his good form as he bashed his way to 47 off 40 balls with four fours and two sixes but he chanced his arm once too often and was bowled by Mbhalati after an almighty heave across the line.
Mbhalati ended with figures of 3-31.
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The Lions’ bowlers had earlier held sway after the home team had won the toss and elected to field.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso finished with 2-24 while paceman Hardus Viljoen claimed 2-31. Pakistani left-arm quick Sohail Tanvir, who had figures of 2-0-2-1, eventually picked up 2-21 off four overs.
The Lions made an almost immediate impression with the ball when paceman Chris Morris had Rudolph (13) caught at mid-off before Tanvir trapped Mangaliso Mosehle (0) leg-before to leave the Titans on 16 for two.
Martin van Jaarsveld (13) and Henry Davids steadied the ship somewhat with a third-wicket partnership of 33 off just three overs before Van Jaarsveld was dismissed by Viljoen thanks to a superb, leaping, one-handed catch from Imran Tahir at mid-off.
Davids looked well set in scoring 36 off 35 balls before he was bowled by a quicker delivery from Phangiso. Phangiso struck again three balls later when he trapped Albie Morkel (3) leg-before with a delivery which barely got above ankle height as the Titan slipped to 96 for five in the 13th over.
Farhaan Behardien was in good touch and he compiled 36 off just 28 balls with three fours and a six before he was well caught, off the bowling of Viljoen, by wicketkeeper De Kock who dived full length to his right.
David Wiese and Roelof van der Merwe (9) added a quickfire 26 runs for the seventh wicket before Van der Merwe was flummoxed by a slower ball from Tanvir and was bowled in the last over of the innings.
Wiese provided some late impetus to the innings as he ended not out on 28 with his 24-ball innings including two sixes and a four.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS – Quinton de Kock (wk), Gulam Bodi, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Jean Symes (capt), Dwaine Pretorius, Chris Morris, Sohail Tanvir, Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir.
NASHUA TITANS – Henry Davids (Capt), Jacques Rudolph, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Martin van Jaarsveld, Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati.