Hardus Viljoen took 3-43 and struck 30 off 28 balls at the death to claim a victory off the last ball for the Lions against the Dolphins at Senwes Park on Saturday.
The dry-hot conditions in Potchefstroom seemed to take a toll on both sides, as batsmen struggled with their shot selection.
The Dolphins prodded along with good starts, but 30 seemed to be the unlucky number, as Morne van Wyk (36), Senuran Muthusamy (34), Dane Vilas (30) and Khaya Zondo (30) were all dismissed with 163 on the board.
Robbie Frylinck smashed five fours and two sixes for his 31-ball 45 before he blasted the ball directly at Dwaine Pretorius who took an instinctive one-handed catch off his own bowling to dismiss the burly all-rounder.
Calvin Savage lacked support from his tail-end as Viljoen’s double strike pinned the Dolphins back behind the 250-run mark, bowling Prenelan Subrayen (2) and trapping Attie Maposa lbw for a duck.
Two fours from Mthokozisi Shezi got the visitors to 253 before Savage was run out on 37 off 26 balls, with seven balls in the innings remaining.
Viljoen took 3-43 and Beuran Hendricks took 2-52, while Pretorius, Bjorn Fortuin and Aaron Phangiso shared one apiece.
The Lions’ response was measured and controlled after a wobbly start.
Shezi (3-55) took advantage of the lack of bounce to remove both Lions openers: Stephen Cook out for 1 and Reeza Hendricks (22). He took another to end off the 10th over with a straight-wide delivery as Ryan Rickelton played a loose drive, knicking the ball to Vilas for a regulation catch behind the stumps.
The experienced pairing of Omphile Ramela and Rassie van der Dussen sparked a Lions revival as they went from 37-3 to 115-3, Van der Dussen (35 off 40) threw his wicket away finding Sarel Erwee’s hands at long-on.
Ramela reached his fifth half-century and was well supported by wicket-keeper batsman Mangaliso Mosehle after Pretorius was dismissed on 2.
The Lions crept behind the required run rate but Mosehle smashed Muthusamy for 22 runs (4, 6, 6, 2, 4, 1) in the 26th over to bring the run rate back to one per ball.
Sibonelo Makhanya bowled economically and took the scalps of Ramela (57), Mosehle (53) and Fortuin (18), leaving the Lions in trouble on 221-8 in 46 overs.
Viljoen (30) put in a late charge with Phangiso (15 off 12 balls) as the pair strung together a 33-run partnership, with the Lions needing eight off six balls.
Savage went for 1, 2, 0, no-ball 1 run, 1, and two leg byes as the Lions salvaged a two-wicket win.
Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images