Lions smash Knights in Momentum Cup at Wanderers
Imperial Lions 275/9
VKB Knights 188
Lions won by 87 runs.
A partnership of 121 runs for the fifth wicket between Nicky van den Bergh and the talented left-hander Delano Potgieter proved to be the turning point in this Momentum One-Day Cup as the Lions continued their march to a play-off spot with a comfortable win here on Wednesday night.
The Lions remain in second place on the log behind the KwaZulu Natal Dolphins, but have a game in hand as the competition heads into the final stages.
Van den Bergh had to show care and patience initially as the home team lost their top order for just 38 runs inside the first 10 overs of the innings after the Knights won the toss and chose to field. By the time 23 year old Potgieter arrived at the crease in the 23rd over, the Lions were 89/4 and in danger of not batting out their 50 overs.
The pair set about repairing the early damage, placing the ball cleverly into gaps and taking advantage of some average ground fielding by the visitors. Van den Bergh would get stuck into off-spinner Tshepo Ntuli later, hitting some sumptuous cover drives as he and Potgieter started increasing the scoring rate.
So well were they batting that as the last 10 overs started it looked like the Lions could top 300. However the Knights best bowler Mbulelo Budaza put paid to that by bowling him for 91 in the 42nd over. Van den Bergh’s innings lasted 112 balls and he hit eight fours and two sixes.
Potgieter notched up his third consecutive score in the 60s, continuing an excellent run of form that has impressed his head coach Wandile Gwavu. He struck seven fours and two sixes - one of which was a delicious stroke over long-off.
Budaza picked up 4/45 getting the ball swing around on occasion.
Even though the Lions didn’t reach 300, their final target proved more than sufficient even if at the start of the Knights innings Jacques Snyman looked like he could knock off the required total in 20 overs.
Snyman, built like flank forward, with the batting style of a woodchopper smashed the ball to all parts of the ground early taking just 27 balls to reach 50.
However once he was out, for 54, mistiming a drive to mid-off off Eldred Hawken all the zip went out of the Knights’ innings. Andries Gous made 66 but used up far too many balls, 86, in doing so.
A double strike by Lions skipper Aaron Phangiso in the 17th over in which he removed Keegan Petersen and Raynardt van Tonder, proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the visitors. Phangiso eventually finished with figures of 4/30.
The Lions host the Warriors in their next match here on Sunday.