Lions win in super over thanks to Sisanda Magala
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Sisanda Magala, having plundered 25 runs with the bat to save the Lions, and then won them the Pool A fixture against the Northern Cape with a brilliant performance in a ‘super over’ to keep the Lions' hopes alive in the CSA T20 Knock Out competition.
Magala muscled five boundaries in his innings of 25 that came off just 15 balls, as the Lions took advantage of a calamitous fielding performance from the home team to snatch what for large periods of the runchase looked like an unlikely victory.
Before Magala’s heroics, it was Mitchell van Buuren’s superb 61 off 31 balls that helped turn the tide of the Lions' innings.
Northern Cape had control of the match up to that stage thanks to Ernest Kemm’s career best 83 not out off 55 balls, which helped them post a competitive total on dry, spin-friendly pitch.
The next highest score for the Heat was Kemm’s opening partner Jonathan Vandiar who made 23 in a first wicket partnership of 47, which was the highest in the innings.No other batter scored more than 10, an indication of the control that Kemm had over the innings.
The Lions’ spinners took advantage of the conditions, with Ruan Haasbroek showing massive improvement from day one when he struggled with his length, to pick up 4/28. His first wicket, that of Vandiar, was with an off break that ripped across the left hand giving Ryan Rickelton an easy stumping.
Tshepo Ntuli conceded 24 runs off his four overs, providing his captain Rickleton with further control.
The problem for the Lions was their seamers, who lacked discipline and offered Kemm too many freebies. Malusi Siboto, who claimed four wickets against Western Province on Friday, conceded 34 runs in three overs, while Magala and Lutho Sipamla weren’t as impactful as they needed to be.
Kemm hit 15 fours, cleverly utilising deft flicks, the scoop and he pulled extremely well when the Lions dropped the ball short.
The Lions' run chase got off to a poor start, when Rickelton carved a short wide ball from Johan Van Dyk, to Andrew Rasemane shortly after the fielder had been moved to third man. Van Dyk, a tall strong right arm quick, who pushed the speed gun to 140km/h was too fast for the Lions and claimed a second wicket inside the power play, dismissing Josh Richards
Van Buuren changed the momentum of the innings; initially he ran hard between the wickets putting pressure on the Northern Cape fielders as he turned ones into twos. Perhaps that pressure played some role in some of catches that were missed. There were four dropped catches, none of them particularly hard, which opened the door for the Lions.
Van Dyk impressed with his pace, but he also suffered as a result of his teammates poor technique in the field with wicketkeeper Isaac Dikgale dropping a sitter in the 18th over.
Magala smashed boundaries and in a crazy last over, no.11 Ntuli scrambled a single to tie the match.
Rickelton hit a six in the super over as the Lions set the Heat nine to win, but Magala mixed his pace and landed his yorkers to keep the Lions in contention to finish in the top two in the pool.
The Lions face South Western Districts in the first match on Sunday that starts at 10am, while WP face Northern Cape at 2.30pm.
Northern Cape Heat 157/7 (Ernest Kemm 83, Jonathan Vandiar 23, Ruan Haasbroek4/28, Lutho Sipamla 2/31)
Imperial Lions 157/9 (Mitchell Van Buuren 61, Sisanda Magala 25, J van Dyk 3/16, Evan Jones 3/28)
Lions won by three runs in a super over