It looked for all money that the Cape Cobras would be crowned the champions of the 4-Day Domestic Series, but the Highveld Lions snatched it away with less than two overs left to win the title on Thursday.
In Pietermaritzburg, the Cobras were unable to run through the Dolphins batting line-up.
The KZN outfit stuck it out resolutely to finish on 358/2 off 87 overs, with Marques Ackerman top-scoring with an unbeaten 89 in sharing an unbroken third-wicket stand of 189 with captain Khaya Zondo, who ended on 88 not out.
A powerful Cobras bowling attack comprising of Vernon Philander, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt and George Linde could only take one wicket between them.
So it was over to the Lions, who needed to beat the Warriors in Potchefstroom to take the championship away from the Cobras.
They were delayed momentarily due to rain at Senwes Park, but once they got back on to the field, coach Enoch Nkwe’s team got the victory charge going.
Yaseen Vallie (74) and Sinethemba Qeshile (39) kept them at bay with an 85-run partnership for the fourth wicket, but left-arm paceman Nandré Burger (4/72) got the vital breakthrough when he dismissed Vallie.
The Warriors were 146/4 at that stage, but lost wickets at regular intervals as Burger was joined by Malusi Siboto (3/40) and Nono Pongolo (2/36).
It came down to a dramatic finish as the Eastern Cape team had just two more overs to survive when youngster Wihan Lubbe got the decisive scalp, bowling Sithembile Langa for eight to secure victory, with the Lions edging ahead of the Cobras by 9.22 points on the final log.
The victory represents a second successive trophy for Nkwe, after guiding the Jozi Stars to the Mzansi Super League title.