Composed half-centuries by Onke Nyaku and Matthew Breetzke settled the Warriors and helped pave the way for them to complete a first victory of the 4-Day Domestic Series season late on day three of their clash with the Lions in East London on Wednesday.
Former South Africa U19 opener Breetzke struck a patient 59 from 187 balls (4 fours) and all-rounder Nyaku an unbeaten 58 (124 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) at Buffalo Park where the home side overcame a worrying early collapse to eventually chase down a victory target of 164 with three wickets to spare.
The pair were the only real support for each other, stringing together what proved to be the winning stand of 80 for the sixth wicket.
The result was the perfect reaction for the Eastern Cape franchise after they lost the opening game of 2019-20 when they went down to the Knights in Kimberley last week.
Even though there were some nerves for Rivash Gobind’s side, they were much more efficient, especially with the ball, where they were led by rising young star Lutho Sipamla.
The Proteas rookie finished with eight wickets in the match, including one on what proved to be the final morning when the champions resumed on 211-8, desperate for any runs that would help build on their precarious lead.
That never happened, though, with Sipamla striking with the 11th ball of the day to take out Malusi Siboto for 22 and Glenton Stuurman (2-46) accounting for Aaron Phangiso not long after.
The South Africa paceman ended with 4-53 and 8-110 in the match – the Lions all out for 217 and a modest target set.
The Warriors’ chase did not begin well as they lost Eddie Moore (2) in the opening over to Dwaine Pretorius (1-21), before slipping to 34-4 and 67-5, Siboto (4-47) causing most of the early carnage.
But Breetzke and Nyaku settled themselves and together guided their side to the brink, with the latter eventually carrying his side over the line in a patient 69.4 overs.
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