• Victories for Cobras, Lions

    There were wins for the Cape Cobras and the Highveld Lions, while the Dolphins were saved by the rain in the RamSlam T20 Challenge at Kingsmead on Sunday.

    Kieron Pollard provided the late-order fireworks and then held his nerve with the ball to see the Cobras record a four-run victory over the Titans in the first game of the triple-header.

    Then Neil McKenzie brought his considerable experience to bear as the Lions beat the Warriors by six wickets to make it five wins out of five in the middle game.

    Pollard’s unbeaten 56 from just 29 balls (4x6s, 3x4s) powered the Cobras to a handy total of 169 for 6 after they were put in to bat, but the Titans rallied from a poor start to go into the final over needing 11 to win.

    Cobras captain Justin Ontong had no hesitation in throwing the ball to Pollard, despite the fact that his previous over had been hit for 21 by Qaasim Adams.

    It appeared as though the Titans would pick up their first victory of the competition when David Wiese (24 off 8 balls) hit Pollard’s first delivery for six, leaving five required off five balls.

    However, Pollard had both Wiese and Darren Sammy caught at long-on and also bowled three dot balls to give the Cobras the points from a tight game.

    The Lions were 74-4 after 15 overs chasing 127 for victory, and many batsmen would have buckled under the considerable pressure, but McKenzie refused to panic and found an able ally in Temba Bavuma.

    The pair duly knocked off the 53 runs still required, coasting home with three balls to spare to put the Lions seven points clear at the top of the table at the halfway point of the competition.

    The Warriors had needed a 56-run stand for the sixth wicket between Christiaan Jonker and Simon Harmer to get them anywhere near a decent total after four of their top five had been dismissed for single-digit scores.

    Only Yaseen Vallie (25) had contributed as the Warriors slumped to 55-5, but Jonker added 25 from 20 balls and Harmer scored an unbeaten 38 from 26 deliveries to take the Warriors to 126-7.

    Although the Lions kept wickets in hand early on, with Rassie van der Dussen the only batsman to fall in the opening 12 overs, without Chris Gayle they struggled to gain momentum.

    When Alviro Petersen (30) and Dwaine Pretorius departed in quick succession the Warriors were very much in the hunt, but McKenzie stood firm to finish unbeaten on 46 as Bavuma provided the firepower, hitting five boundaries in a score of 37 not out from 21 balls.

    In the evening game, the Dolphins were shot out for 82 within 19 overs. Khaya Zondo and Keshav Maharaj were the only two batsmen to reach double figures, contributing 33 and 19, respectively.

    The bowling figures were understandably very impressive. Shadley van Schalkwyk continued his hot streak, claiming 2-14 off his four overs, while fellow Wynberg old boy Malusi Siboto took 1-13 in three overs. However, the best of the bunch was the Knights West Indian import. Andre Russell decimated the Dolphins batting order with his 4-18 in 3.5 overs.

    A bonus point win looked a mere formality for the men from Bloemfontein, but it started to spit during the interval and the rain never subsided. The match was eventually declared a no result, which meant that the points were shared. The wash out can be seen as two points gained by the Dolphins and three lost for the Knights. That points swing could be vital come the end of the competition.

    Photo: Backpagepix

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