A sparkling century from Reeza Hendricks allowed the Lions to begin the defence of their One Day Cup crown with a 44-run victory over the Warriors.
After a dismal Sunfoil Series campaign for both sides, the 50-over format brought some light relief as the Lions hope to secure back-to-back titles, while the Warriors were out to improve on their runners-up finish in this year’s CSA T20 Challenge. It would be the Lions to get their campaign off to a record-breaking start.
Asked to bat first, the hosts piled on 178 runs for the first wicket, with Reeza Hendricks hitting 13 fours for his blistering 87-ball century, while captain Stephen Cook proved a more than useful foil, scoring 81 off 84.
The middle order struggled to push on at the same pace as that of the openers, but the likes of Temba Bavuma and Nicky van den Bergh kept the scoreboard ticking along with 30 apiece.
The dying overs saw the side pass 300, before a late blitz from Bjorn Fortuin (16 off 14) and Matt McGillivray (14 off 7) got them to 329-7, eclipsing their previous best score against the Warriors – 308-2 in Potchefstroom 12 years ago.
The Eastern Cape side threatened to stay in the match with a 122-run second-wicket stand, but they simply didn’t score quickly enough, with the bowlers chipping away constantly from that point on. Even Hendricks got in on the act with two wickets to go with his century, while his namesake, Beuran, picked up three scalps.
Smuts was the first wicket to fall for 15, and then Gihahn Cloete and Colin Ingram set about providing a solid second-wicket platform. Cloete did well to bring up his half-century, but he used up 77 balls for it, which forced Ingram to step it up a notch, scoring a run a ball 69.
Reeza accounted for both of them in what appeared to be a one-man show, before Colin Ackermann kept the Warriors in it with a 30-ball 46.
When he departed, the required run rate became too much to handle, and they were bowled out on the last ball of the innings, 44 runs short of the mark.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images