Warriors rout Lions at Bullring
Davy Jacobs (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Warriors stunned the Highveld Lions as they overturned a deficit of 80 runs in the first innings to win their Sunfoil Series topsy-turvy encounter by 10 wickets just after lunch on day three at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
Ayabulela Gqamane completed a maiden 10-wicket haul in franchise cricket, as he helped himself to seven second innings wickets, to go with his 4-46 in the Lions' first innings. The Highveld Lions, who resumed on 35/5, were routed for 59 on the third morning, with Thami Tsolekile (14) and Temba Bavuma (18) the only two batsmen to reach double figures.
Gqamane (7-24) and Andrew Birch (2-20) ripped through the remaining five Highveld Lions' wickets, giving their batsmen just 140 runs to chase to seal the most stunning of wins.
Having lost the toss and bowled out the bizhub Highveld Lions for 315, with Stephen Cook falling five short of his ton, and Tsolekile doing the rebuilding with a fighting 88 not out, the Warriors could only manage 235 themselves, with Christian Jonker's 68 crucial in keeping them not too far away from the hosts.
The Warriors then turned the match on its head, as their excellent, probing bowling on the second evening, and then on the third morning, wrested the initiative back from the high-flying Highveld Lions.
Davy Jacobs (84 not out) and Michael Price (49 not out) then sailed to their tricky target, with skipper Jacobs playing with his usual fluency, rattling up his runs off just 105 balls. He spanked seven fours and a towering six, while the more sedate Price required 99 balls to make his runs.
They never allowed the dangerous spin duo of Imran Tahir and Eddie Leie to settle, cracking both of them for over six runs an over.
The win was a welcome return to form for the dominant franchise in domestic cricket in recent seasons, and temporarily put them at the top of the Sunfoil Series standings, with 16.7 points to show for their efforts. The Highveld Lions could only muster 8.3 points.
Gqamane was rewarded with the man of the match award for his wonderful haul of 11-70 in a thrilling contest.