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Ken Borland

Lions will be thrilled with clinical win

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Ken

The bizhub Highveld Lions will be thrilled with how clinical they were as they beat the Chevrolet Warriors by eight wickets with seven balls remaining in their MiWay T20 Challenge match at Axxess DSL St George’s in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

Chris Morris bowled with good pace to lead the Lions attack as they restricted the Warriors to 134 for nine and then, with Jonathan Vandiar anchoring the chase with 56 not out off 53 balls, the visitors barely had to rush as they cruised to 136 for two in 18.5 overs.

Veteran Neil McKenzie added the final touches with his 31 not out off 29 balls as the Lions showed themselves to be early contenders with their second straight victory.

The Lions were only chasing a moderate total, but the St George’s pitch is renown for getting lower and slower, so tactically they were spot on as they looked to make the most out of the first six powerplay overs against the hard new ball.

Captain Alviro Petersen looked in sublime form as he stroked 26 off 16 balls, but them smashed a return catch to Makhaya Ntini.

Dwaine Pretorius then came in and hit two massive sixes off left-arm spinner Jon-Jon Smuts on his way to 21 off 15 balls, but it was debatable whether the pinch-hitter tactic really worked.

Simon Harmer was the leading wicket-taker in the SuperSport Series (44 in nine matches) for a reason and the off-spinner removed Pretorius when he fired in a wonderful yorker to bowl the powerfully-built all-rounder, on his way to fine figures of one for 19 in four overs.

But McKenzie hasn’t put a foot wrong all season and he helped Vandiar steer the Lions to a breakthrough victory – having lost all their previous T20 games in Port Elizabeth, they will be celebrating their win long and loud.

Earlier, Morris had another excellent evening in the field as the Highveld Lions restricted the Warriors to 134 for nine.


Morris had taken the new ball and bowled tidily, his two overs costing just 10 runs, but Jon-Jon Smuts and Ashwell Prince had given the Warriors a solid platform as they took them to 66 for one after 10 overs.

The Warriors had won the toss and elected to bat first, but had lost Kelly Smuts to the second ball of the innings, bowled for a duck by Ethan O’Reilly.

But his older brother Jon-Jon, a compact, punchy batsman, played some top-class strokes as he scored 42 off 37 balls before he was beaten and bowled by a fine delivery from left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso.

There has been plenty of discussion about Prince’s future, but the left-hander looked solid as he scored 33 off 29 balls before part-time off-spinner Petersen won their little battle by bowling him as the batsman came down the pitch.

Miscommunication then cost the Warriors two wickets off successive balls, with Morris running out both Colin Ackermann (4) and Nicky Boje (0), with super throws from deep square-leg and short fine-leg respectively.

Athenkosi Dyili hit the ball about with some aplomb in the closing overs as he scored 22 off 11 balls, but the Warriors would have wanted more than just four runs from the final over, bowled by the impressive Morris.

Andrew Birch (6) stepped across his stumps and tried to hit Morris on the leg-side, but the ball was full and hitting middle stump so umpire Marais Erasmus had no hesitation in given the lbw when the batsman missed.

Morris then hit the blockhole superbly with his final ball, yorking Simon Harmer for 14.

It gave the lanky all-rounder marvellous figures of two for 19 in four overs, but credit must also go to Phangiso, who did much to stifle the Warriors with one for 18 in his four overs.

Left-arm spinner Jean Symes took two wickets to further frustrate the Warriors.

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