Johannesburg - The Highveld Lions suffered their first loss of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge campaign, going down by four runs to the Knights in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
Chasing a modest 126, the Lions’ batsmen got bogged down and, at one stage, went more than five overs without a boundary.
Ryan McLaren took two for 16 off his four overs, dismissing both of the Lions’ openers. Gulam Bodi was caught behind for two runs and Quinton de Kock got an inside edge to Loots Bosman at mid-off for nine.
As De Kock departed, a power failure interrupted play for 12 minutes and Alviro Petersen and Neil McKenzie resumed at 23 for two in the sixth over -- well behind the required run rate.
As the pressure mounted, the Lions were forced into making errors and Petersen, who made 29, gifted 39-year-old Nicky Boje a simple caught-and-bowled.
Sohail Tanveer came to the crease and signalled his intentions with a six off his first ball, but the veteran spin bowler got the better of him with his next delivery, trapping him lbw.
All hopes rested on Jean Symes but he could not manage the 14 required off the last over. He finished as top-scorer in the match with 46 off 37 balls, smashing three fours and two sixes.
An opening partnership of 30, off 28 balls, between Bosman and Rilee Rossouw set the foundation for the visitors.
The pair were rollicking along until Bosman played high in the air and Hardus Viljoen, at third man, took a clean catch off Dwaine Pretorius to dismiss him for 15.
Dean Elgar made a brief appearance, scoring nine off six balls, before he was bowled by Pretorius.
Rossouw combined with McLaren for 27 runs and it took a beauty from Imran Tahir to break the fifth-wicket stand. The ball spun back to remove the leg stump and, while Rossouw, who hit 33 off 37 balls, walked off the field, Tahir celebrated in his traditional over-exuberant style.
McLaren chipped in with 24 off 18. His attempted sweep shot, off Aaron Phangiso, looked to be going for a certain six but Themba Bavuma had other ideas and made a lot of ground to his left to take a magnificent boundary catch.
Pakistani paceman Tanveer bowled superbly to finish with one for 14, off his four overs, while Viljoen, Tahir and Phangiso took two wickets each and Pretorius bagged one scalp.