Benoni – A six-wicket haul by Hardus Viljoen put the Highveld Lions into a dominant position in their match against the Titans at Willowmoore Park on Friday, despite a dramatic first innings batting collapse.
At close of play on the second day, the Lions had 74 without loss, and needed just 107 runs for victory, with two days in hand.
Stephen Cook was not out on 34 and Dominic Hendricks had 36
without loss of his wicket.
Resuming on their overnight score of 149 for two, the Lions fell apart, losing eight wickets for just 53 runs.
Neil McKenzie was out on the fourth ball of the day, caught behind by Mangaliso Mosehle off Ethy Mbhalati without adding to his overnight score of 70.
Hendricks, his partner in a fourth wicket stand of 135, went out the same way shortly afterwards, for his overnight score of 57.
A procession of batsmen followed and the Lions were all out for 202, to take a slender first innings lead of seven runs.
Mbhalati was the most successful bowler, taking four for 48, while Rowan Richards weighed in with three for 31.
The Titans struggled again in their second innings, with nobody able to get beyond the 50 mark.
Chris Morris made the initial breakthrough, when he had Francois le Clus caught behind by Hendricks for four in the seventh over.
Jacques Rudolph (9) was out leg before wicket to Cliffe Deacon in the next over.
Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn tried hard to establish a partnership before Davids was caught by Morris off Viljoen for 30, giving Viljoen the first of his six wickets. Davids and Kuhn had put on 40 for the third wicket.
Mosehle was bowled by Viljoen for two and then Kuhn and David Wiese put on 42 for the fifth wicket before Wiese was bowled by Morris for 23.
Morris bowled Kuhn for 42 in his next over, and the Titans' hopes of setting the Lions a big target disappeared as one batsman after another made his way back to the dressing-room.
Roelof van der Merwe made 11, Shaun von Berg 19, and Mbhalati made a breezy 19 off 22 balls, but the hosts were in trouble and were all out for 187, setting the Lions the task of scoring 181 to win.
Viljoen ended the innings with figures of six for 24 in 11.3
overs while Morris took three for 35, and Deacon one for 37.
The Lions will be hoping for fair weather on Saturday, so that they can wrap up the match. – Sapa