Sisanda Magala bowled a brilliant Super Over to earn the Lions a three-run victory over the Northern Cape Heat in the T20 Knock Out in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Lions, who lost to Western Province by two runs in their opening match, had their last pair scampering a single to earn the Super Over. And, even then, they managed only eight runs for the loss of two wickets, leaving the home side to make nine for victory.
But Magala’s over cost only three runs (plus two byes run to the wicketkeeper) and the Lions remain in contention for one of the two knockout-round places from Pool A along with WP and SWD. For the Heat, it is the end of the road as far as qualification goes.
They have, however, produced a fast bowler of note in Johan van Dyk who is going to make an impact on the South African first-class season.
The Heat followed the trend of the second day by opting to bat first on the used pitch when they won the toss and managed to post a reasonably competitive 157-7 from their 20 overs.
This was largely due to the contribution of opening batter Ernest Kemm (83* off 55 balls, 15 fours). The left-hander underlined what has been the most significant fact of all the winning performances thus far: the need for at least one of the top three to bat deep into the innings.
Kemm is not the biggest of hitters, but he showed there are other ways to score quickly as he found the gaps in the field with good placement of his strokes as well as sharp running between the wickets.
He and Jonathan Vandiar put on 48 during the PowerPlay and that set the tone for the rest of the innings despite that few of his partners got into double figures.
The Lions’ attack is still some way off their best but they nevertheless produced another four-wicket haul, this time by Ruan Haasbroek (4-28 in four overs).
Van Dyk was once again impressive with the new ball when the Lions started their innings, dismissing both opening batters, one of which was the dangerous Ryan Rickelton. His three-over spell in the PowerPlay earned him 2-10 in three overs with five of the runs coming in wides.
The PowerPlay ended on 29-2 and, after 10 overs, the Lions were struggling on 58-3, needing exactly 100 for victory from the remaining 10 overs.
However, they found the man for the moment in Mitchell van Buuren (61 off 31 balls, seven fours and three sixes). When he was dismissed the target was down to 19 in the last two overs and Sisanda Magala got them most of the way with eight runs needed off the last over.
In the end, the Lions needed two off the final ball with their last two batters at the crease and they scampered a single to force the Super Over.
SWD were left to rue four dropped catches plus a run-out opportunity off the final ball.
Van Dyk finished with an impressive 3-16 in four overs.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images