JOHANNESBURG – For the second time at this venue this season, what looked like a fairly simple last over equation for the Lions against the Cobras ended in defeat for the home side.
In the Momentum Cup game here last month, Akhona Mnyaka defended seven runs in the final over to give the Cobras victory. Yesterday it was the more experienced Dane Paterson’s turn. He had eight runs to work with, but the Lions could only score two and, as they did against Mnyaka, they lost three wickets in that last over.
For all their problems in that final over - a mixture of good execution by Paterson and poor judgement by the Lions - they really should not have allowed the match to go to the final over.
Twice they let the Cobras off the hook. First with the ball, they seemed to have felt the job was done when they dismissed Kyle Verrynne for 26 in the 12th over reducing the visitors to 87/5. Their intensity dropped and Vernon Philander and Aviwe Mgijima added 58 for the sixth wicket to help the Cobras post a competitive total.
Earlier, Hashim Amla had made his return to the competitive arena after a difficult month spent by his sick father’s side. It is far too early to determine Amla’s readiness for the World Cup - should he be picked - and playing this format probably won’t give much indication of his readiness. But given that he has not played for five weeks, the intensity that a T20 match demands will most likely help to accelerate the attaining of the competitive edge he may need from the end of May.