Half-centuries by Ryan Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen helped the Lions make an impressive start to the new One-Day Cup season by flattening the defending champions Titans by 73 runs in their derby at Centurion on Friday.
There were also notable showings with the ball from Beuran Hendricks (4/43) and Aaron Phangiso (3-39) as the Johannesburg-based side put aside their recent red-ball struggles with a dominant display at SuperSport Park.
The result was set up by a big score from the visitors that created pressure on their hosts as 305 all out played 232.
Rickelton led the way for the Lions with his impressive 92 off 89 balls (7 fours, 2 sixes), creating all sorts of problems for the Titans.
The left-hander played a key role after the early loss of opening partner Reeza Hendricks (10), putting on 78 with Temba Bavuma (32) for the second wicket.
He then added 106 with Proteas ace Van der Dussen (65 off 71 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) for the third wicket, the away side turning the screw.
It was only because of regular wickets from there, including an excellent 3-40 by Lungi Ngidi, that stopped the Lions from getting to an even bigger score.
The fast bowler, who is bidding for a return to the national fold, was aided by double strikes from Dayyaan Galiem (2-42) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2-71) that at least ensured their opposition were dismissed in 49.4 overs.
A big start was needed by the reigning champions if they wanted to get the runs to beat their provincial rivals and they got that thanks to Henry Davids (49) and Theunis de Bruyn (48). The pair put on 78 for the second wicket to leave the Titans on 105-1 in the 18th over.
However, Phangiso’s introduction turned up the heat and he first broke the stand, before accounting for Dean Elgar (10) within the space of eight deliveries.
Veteran Davids soon followed, and despite a fighting 41 from captain Heinrich Klaasen, failure by one of the three top-scorers to kick on ultimately cost the home side – their 2020 campaign opener ending with being bowled out in 44.5 overs.
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