Lonwabo Tsotsobe took five wickets to help his side secure a 20-run victory over the Warriors in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
The pitch seemed to speed up during the day and be at its best for batting during the second innings. JJ Smuts and Colin Ingram looked in complete control, but neither took the responsibility of batting deep and taking the team home. Ingram played on for a 60-ball 65 and Smuts chipped back a return catch to the bowler for a patient 89 off 121 deliveries.
Smuts’ departure left the scoreboard reading 210-5 after the first ball of the 40th over. It’s an equation that most batting sides would fancy, but the Warriors lack of depth was exploited by Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
The former No 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world showed his full array of skills. He maintained excellent control and his subtle change of pace proved the undoing of half the Warriors line up. He finished with the incredible figures of 5-44 in his 10 overs and ultimately was the difference between the two sides.
The Warriors were eventually dismissed for 271 in the final over. They set the game up and will be disappointed that they let slip a game that they feel was there for the taking. The Lions, on the other hand, will be pleased with the fight they showed to become the first team in this campaign to win at home.
Earlier, Ingram won the toss and inserted the hosts. The men from the Highveld got off to a great start, thanks to a 50-ball 56 from Quinton de Kock. Neil McKenzie showed all his experience and held the innings together, before Thami Tsolekile finished the innings in style.
McKenzie’s workman-like 73 and Tsolekile’s unbeaten 36-ball 51 steered the Lions to 291-5 in their allotted 50 overs. It was a par score on a good wicket and they owe their victory to a disciplined bowling performance.