A key innings of 43 by Nono Pongolo helped the Lions snatch victory from what looked to be the jaws of defeat as they sealed a thrilling one-wicket win over the Cape Cobras in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
The seamer was left to bat in what appeared to be a lost cause – the hosts having slumped to 225 for six chasing 305 – and with only the other bowlers to come.
However, he helped them somehow managed to scrape together the other 80 with help from his fellow tail-enders as they edged to victory with two balls to spare.
It capped an excellent chase in which most of the runs had earlier come through all-rounder Delano Potgieter (66 off 37 balls, 5 fours, 4 sixes) and wicketkeeper Nicky van den Bergh (59 off 76 balls, 4 fours, 1 six), although their departures appeared to signal the end even though there were plenty of deliveries still to go.
But Pongolo had other ideas, helping seal a famous win, one that lifted the Lions up to second on the table.
Earlier, Zubayr Hamza continued his purple patch of form for the Cobras with a second career-best century in three games as they amassed 304 for eight after losing the toss and being asked to bat first at Senwes Park.
The Proteas Test batsman smashed 156 in 124 balls (13 fours, 4 sixes), following on his maiden ton two games earlier.
That also meant he had now recorded returns of 58, 129, 93 and now his lifetime best List A score in successive innings.
Jonathan Bird, fresh from his recent exploits for South Africa at the Under-19 World Cup, hit 47 on his franchise debut, with Pieter Malan striking 32.
Veteran spinner Aaron Phangiso was the pick of the bowlers with four for 46.
Despite losing wickets regularly, the Lions scored fairly rapidly thanks to Ryan Rickelton (32), Reeza Hendricks (24), Wihan Lubbe (28) and their two top scorers.
But they were six down by the 37th over, thanks mainly to Thando Ntini’s four for 62 that looked to have all but ended their hopes of victory.
Pongolo, though, had other ideas, and supported by Malusi Siboto (16) and Phangiso (14 not out), the trio helped their side edge over the line.
Photo: Gallo Images