Highveld Lions 127/6 (15 overs)
Titans won by eight wickets on D/L method
CENTURION – The Lions continue to be haunted by their shortcomings with the bat, and regardless of the format, it makes them a side that will find it very difficult to challenge for trophies.
This may have been only the first game of the RamSlam T20 Challenge, but already the Lions look like a side that will come to rely heavily on their bowlers if they are to be realistic contenders.
Meanwhile their vanquishers here on Sunday night underlined their status as favourites to defend their title, with a batting line-up that is all powerful and an attack that will be supplemented by the return of Dale Steyn this week.
With the exception of Reeza Hendricks – who genuinely looked like he was playing a different game – Sunday’s was another awful performance from the remaining Lions batsmen.
Rassie van der Dussen, upon whose shoulders so much rests, was dismissed second ball caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
Mangaliso Mosehle gifted his wicket to the Titans with the most dreadful stroke by skying the ball to cover, and young Marques Ackerman hoicked one to Malusi Siboto at square leg.
Albie Morkel has seen a great many things over his lengthy career, but such acts of charity – three wickets in eight balls – must be rare.
Hendricks, playing some eye-catching strokes, eventually found a partner in Dwaine Pretorius who was able to hang around and together the pair added 64 for the fourth with Pretorius making a run-a-ball 20.
He slapped David Wiese straight to Farhaan Behardien at long-off and then to compound the Lions’ troubles, Wiaan Mulder was run out.
As in the first match between the Cobras and Dolphins, a thunderstorm interrupted play for just over an hour, following which the match was reduced to 15 overs a side.
The Lions tagged on 24 runs in two overs after the break, with Hendricks finishing unbeaten on 67 off 42 balls, with eight fours and two sixes.
Morkel having taken 3/12 with the ball, promoted himself up the order to No 3 as the Titans went in pursuit of a revised target of 135 within 12 overs to earn themselves a bonus point.
De Kock smashed 39 off 24 balls (5x4, 2x6), Morkel was not out on 41 (16 balls, 1x4, 5x6) and AB de Villiers, who finished off the match with consecutive sixes off Rabada, was not out on 50 off 19 balls (3x4, 5x6) as the Titans achieved their victory target with 22 balls to spare and comfortably within the allotted 12 overs to earn that bonus point.
The Lions attack showed enough to suggest that they will in fact win games for their side in this competition.
Mulder was very good for three overs, picking up two wickets and conceding 28 runs, which in the circumstances wasn’t bad.
But the Lions will desperately need their batsmen to come to the party over the next six weeks so as not to leave their bowlers too much to do.