Bjorn Fortuin grabbed 4-39 against the Knights to help the Lions to a 20-run T20 Challenge victory in Kimberley on Friday.
The Lions raced to 64-0 during the power play, thanks to Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, who set set the foundation with a 66-run partnership off 48 balls. The change of pace turned things around, when spinner Aubrey Swanepoel put an end to their quick start and dismissed Van der Dussen on 24.
Hendricks, whose last game came on 12 November against the Titans, took advantage of his side’s solid start and hit a destructive 53 off 31 balls before losing his wicket to Theunis de Bruyn on the last ball of the 10th over.
Nicky van den Bergh came to the crease and immediately set the tone hitting a six and a four at the end of the 11th over. Despite losing Mangaliso Mosehle in the 16th over to a De Bruyn run-out on 24, the 27-year-old reached his first half-century of the tournament in style, hitting a six off the first ball of the 17th over. Van den Bergh was later dismissed on 57 off 35 for his side’s final wicket of their innings, as the Lions posted 182-5.
The Knights could not match the Lions’ quick start. Hardus Viljoen struck early to dismiss Michael Erlank off the first ball of their innings, as he tried to flick one off his legs, only to find the safe hands of Eddie Leie.
Leus du Plooy, fresh off a successful CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge campaign, showcased his talent early with a flourish of boundaries and, with the help from Pite van Biljon, continued to take the fight to the Lions. Spin once again changed the momentum of the game as Fortuin picked up the 21-year-old for a neat 45 off 33 balls at the end of the 13th over.
Fortuin, coming off a Bowler of the Match performance against the Dolphins last time out, picked up the wicket of Proteas bowler Marchant de Lange in his follow-up over, and another two in his over after that, to end his four overs with a four-for.
Despite a decent cameo of 25 runs off 12 balls from Luthando Mnyanda, the Lions earned a 20-run victory as they stayed in contention for a play-off spot.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images