Eddie Leie tore through the Cobras line-up to put the Highveld Lions into the CSA T20 play-offs.
They earned the right to meet the Warriors through a wonderful display of bowling which was highlighted by Leie’s 4-26, setting up a 22-run win.
It needed something special after the Lions were able to muster just 139-8, having been put in to bat at Paarl on Sunday afternoon.
Dwaine Pretorius blasted out the Cobras top-order, removing Hashim Amla (17) and JP Duminy (3) before Leie got to work with his wily legbreaks. Despite the early loss of the Proteas players, the Cobras were still in reasonable shape at 60-2 after nine overs. By the time Leie had done his work, taking a wicket in each of his four overs, the Cobras were 83-6.
Not to be outdone, Bjorn Fortuin weighed in with two of his own, including the dangerous Kieron Pollard (18) and the game was effectively over. Hardus Viljoen cleaned up the tail in the 19th over.
The Cobras had every right to feel optimistic after right-arm seamer Tshepo Moreki’s double strike cut short a rebuilding exercise by Rassie van der Dussen (56) and Mangoliso Mosehle (31).
The Lions started well enough, putting on 45 runs for the first wicket. But then Reeza Hendricks was run out for 17 and Dwaine Pretorius (0) was bowled by Moreki within six balls.
Van der Dussen and Mosehle took the score to 109, when Pollard dismissed Van der Dussen to start the slide. Moreki then removed Nicky van den Bergh (1) and Mosehle in three balls, which left the Lions struggling at 112 for five in the 15th over.
Neither Temba Bavuma (15) or Wiaan Mulder (8) could make much of an impression and both fell to Wayne Parnell in the final over, along with Hardus Viljoen (0). Parnell ended with 3-22.
Rain ruined what could have been a needle clash for top honours when the Warriors and Titans met at Buffalo Park, tied on 29 points each. When they finally got on to the park, the match had been reduced to a five-over farce.
But within that, Farhaan Behardien scored an incredible 55 off 15 balls (4×4, 5×6) to set a target of 81 to win. It was six runs too much for the Warriors.
In the bottom-of-the-table clash which was also hit by rain and reduced to a eight overs a side, the Knights scored their second win of the series, beating the Dolphins by nine wickets. Patrick Kruger scored 34 off 19 balls as they chased a target of 60 to win.
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