The Cobras squeezed out a six-run win against the Lions at Boland Park, defending a target of 146 for their first T20 Ram Slam Challenge victory.
Boland Park failed to provide decent playing conditions for entertaining T20 cricket. A slow wicket presented a tricky task for the bowlers, and the bumpy outfield forced batsmen to seek maximums.
The Lions’ bowlers still managed to impress, Kagiso Rabada (2-20), Hardus Viljoen (2-30) and Wiaan Mulder (2-16) mixing up their pace to force untimed big shots.
Aaron Phangiso read the pitch conditions to a T as he elected to bowl, reducing the hosts to 145-7.
After losing two wickets for 19 runs, Duminy and Amla found ways to push the run rate above six, running between the wickets well to steady the ship.
It took 15 overs for the fans to see the only six of the innings, courtesy of Duminy, who helped the Cobras trot past the 100-run mark.
Amla (42) played a good hand in an 87-run partnership with Duminy, but his ability to time the ball on a cumbersome pitch saw him caught on the boundary through a misjudged pull shot off Mulder.
Duminy went on to reach 54 off 49 balls (3×4, 1×6), but his off-stump was uprooted by Rabada. Vernon Philander (16 off 7 balls) contributed with three fours, but he was knocked over by Viljoen, the Cobras posting their second-highest total of the campaign.
For the Lions, Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen managed to take the visitors past the 50-run mark.
George Linde’s introduction caused trouble for the Lions, as he removed Hendricks on 27 and Omphile Ramela on seven to finish his spell on 2-26.
Van der Dussen anchored his side’s innings by reaching his 51 off 44 balls, but he was removed in the 15th over as the Lions suddenly found themselves on 96-3.
Dwaine Pretorius threatened with a 12-ball 17, and Mangaliso Mosehle with a 16-ball 22, but both batsmen lost their wickets at vital junctions as the Lions were reduced to 133-5 with an over to spare.
Needing 13 off the final over, Ferisco Adams’ slow seam bowling proved to be effective, conceding six runs and removing Mulder for a duck, to reduce the Lions to 139-6 in 20 overs.
Rory Kleinveldt (2-16), Linde (2-26), Mthiwekhaya Nabe (1-20) and Adams (1-31) were vital to their side’s victory, as the Cobras recorded their first points of the competition.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images