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Ken Borland


Tidy stand between Hamza & Van Buuren ends the day well for Lions

Posted on December 21, 2023 by Ken

Zubayr Hamza could afford to be all smiles after the second day at the Wanderers.

A tidy unbeaten partnership of 82 for the fourth wicket between Zubayr Hamza and Mitchell van Buuren ensured the Central Gauteng Lions ended the second day of their CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match against the KZN Inland Tuskers on a much better note at the Wanderers on Thursday.

The slick batting of Hamza and Van Buuren took the Lions to 125 for three at stumps, bringing some stability on what had been a tough, weather-shortened day for the home side.

The Tuskers began the day on 252 for six, and they managed to make it to 345 all out, a useful score at the Wanderers. Number eight Malcom Nofal was the dominant figure in the morning as he stroked 71 off 102 balls, piling on the frustration for the Lions as he added 52 for the seventh wicket with Cameron Shekleton (24) and then 34 for the ninth wicket with Alindile Mhletywa (20).

A two-hour thundershower interrupted the mopping up of the visitors’ innings, spinner Bjorn Fortuin doing the job and finishing with impressive figures of 35-11-65-3. Pacemen Duanne Olivier and Tshepo Moreki also took three wickets apiece.

The Lions then came out to bat with the pitch undoubtedly spruced up by all the moisture and its time under the covers, and they immediately found themselves locked in a tense battle with the fired-up Tuskers new-ball pair of Keith Dudgeon and Thando Ntini.

The hosts were reduced to 16 for two at tea as Josh Richards was caught behind off Ntini for seven and fellow opener Mohamed Manack, on debut, was trapped lbw by Dudgeon for 2.

Ryan Rickelton briefly broke out of his cell with a run-a-ball 20 before he was also trapped in front by Dudgeon, leaving the Lions in danger on 37 for three.

Van Buuren initially batted like a bollard in defying the KZN Inland bowlers, but he then made short work of any loose bowling as he cruised to 37 not out off 71 balls.

Hamza, his strokes thick with class, was able to post his 15th franchise half-century, coming off just 68 deliveries, shortly before the close, which came after the second of two delays for bad light, with seven fours.

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