T20 Challenge

Lions strengthen their grip

2012-03-11 18:50
Chris Morris (File)
Johannesburg - The Highveld Lions strengthened their grip on the T20 Challenge log when they beat the Titans by 16 runs in their Gauteng derby match at the Wanderers on Sunday.

In the day’s other matches the defending champions, the Cape Cobras, moved second after beating theKnights by 6 wickets with 8 balls to spare at Boland Park in Paarl while the luckless Dolphins were washed out for the fourth time in a row, this time against the Warriors at Buffalo Park in East London.

This leaves the points table as follows: Highveld Lions 28 (after 9 matches), Cape Cobras 24 (9), Knights 22 (9), Titans 21 (9), Dolphins 20 (9), Warriors 16 (8), Impi 2 (9).

It is difficult now to see the Lions not finishing top of the log and claiming a home final as they have two remaining home matches against the Warriors and the Dolphins before they visit Willowmoore to play the Impi.

However, nothing is written in stone and the fact that so many matches have been disrupted by the weather could still turn qualification into a lottery.

The Lions are certainly playing outstanding cricket and they have unearthed two youngsters capable of changing the course of a match in 24-year-old all-rounder Chris Morris who took 4/24 (including 15 dot balls) and is the leading wicket-taker in the competition and 19-year-old batsman Quinton de Kock who has one of the best strike rates.

De Kock and Neil McKenzie set up the Lions total of 163/7 with a third wicket partnership of 76 in 9 overs.

The Lions' fielding was also brilliant. Jean Symes picked up three good catches and also played an excellent finishing innings (32 not out off 22 balls, 2 sixes and 2 fours).

Faf du Plessis returned the remarkable figures of 5/28 for the Titans, the second five-wicket haul of his career in this format. Four of these were bowled and he also sent down 11 dot balls. Du Plessis is the 10th player to take two five-wicket hauls in domestic T20 cricket and the second South African. The other one is Andrew Hall.

Another Protea, Richard Levi, sent the Cobras on their way to victory over the Knights with his innings of 61 off 32 balls (5 fours and 4 sixes).

The target of 157 was comparatively modest and, with that sort of batting up front, the Cobras were not going to be troubled. Dane Vilas and Justin Kemp finished the job with an unbroken partnership of 55 in 8 overs.

Read more on:    t20 challenge  |  chris morris


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