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.
There were some powerful wristy flicks, including one off Wiaan Mulder that saw the ball fly over the midwicket boundary for six. However, that was followed by an error of judgement next ball, when he tried to run the ball to third man, but it was too close to him and he bottom edged it onto his stumps.
Amla will need as many innings as possible to get some kind of rhythm going over the next few weeks and there’s no doubt Linda Zondi and his panel will be watching closely.
The Lions having dropped their intensity with the ball, and allowing the Cobras into the game then did the same with the bat, after getting off to a quick start thanks to some crisp hitting from the talented left hand opener Ryan Rickleton. He scored 69 (43b, 3x4, 4x6), but was partly responsible for the Lions just tapping it around between the 10th and 15th overs when they scored just 40 runs, hitting only two sixes in that period.
It meant a manageable required rate of 8.5 at the start of the innings, ballooned to 14 by the start of the 19th over and despite some clever flicks and deflections from Lions captain Temba Bavuma, who scored 46 (35b, 2x4, 2x6), the Lions had to go into the last over.
The target wasn’t demanding, but their execution with the bat was poor, and Paterson’s with the ball wasn’t.
#LIOvCOB | COBRAS WIN BY 5 RUNS— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) April 7, 2019
Dane Paterson has defended 8 off the final over, picking up 2 wickets, executing a run out and conceded just 2 runs to get the team over the line!#StrengthInDiversity #T20Challenge pic.twitter.com/EteZuxTs9C
WSB Cape Cobras 169/8
Bizhub Highveld Lions 164/8
Cobras won by 5 runs.@shockerhess