Johannesburg — Reeza Hendricks produced one of the best innings of his career to guide the Lions to victory in the Cricket SA One-Day Cup final at SuperSport Park on Wednesday night.
Hendricks scored 157 off 135 balls as the Lions successfully chased a mammoth 319, winning the match with a six from Bjorn Fortuin with five balls to spare.
It was a classic innings from Hendricks, who has endured a difficult season both domestically and when called up for the Proteas. He’d come into the final having scored just 110 runs in six innings’, half of those coming in one match.
However, having been given a life of 5 when dropped at cover by Donovan Ferreira off Neil Brand, he produced a performance of the very highest quality. There was no slogging, just crisply timed and aesthetically pleasing stroke play. He took on Tabraiz Shamsi using the sweep smartly but one of the highlights of the match was a lofted drive over extra cover for six off the left-arm wrist spinner.
The only time he looked ungainly was somewhere in the 140s, when battling cramp, he reverse swept Shamsi and slipped. Otherwise, this was an innings of style, great timing, good running between the wickets, and clear thinking.
Hendricks hit 15 fours and three sixes, but crucial to the LIons chase was two partnerships he shared; the first with his captain Dominic Hendricks, saw the pair add 132 for the third wicket. Dominic like Reeza was also given a life early in his innings, when he was dropped by Neil Brand at p[oint off Shamsi.
Those two missed opportunities were extremely costly as Titans skipper Sibonelo Makhanya noted afterwards. Dominic Hendricks made 44 off 48 balls, but his side’s innings took a nervy turn at the fall of his wicket. The Lions lost three more wickets in the next 12 balls, to Shamsi and his spin partner Aaron Phangiso.
Fortunately Reeza Hendricks then found another cool partner in Fortuin who scored an unbeaten 62 off only 47 balls, hitting four fours and two sixes, the second of which sailed over the midwicket boundary setting off the celebrations in the stands - where staff from the Central Gauteng union made themselves heard all afternoon and evening - and in the visiting dressing room.
That seventh wicket partnership was worth 90 runs.
Makhanya felt his team had enough after he was one of three batters to make half centuries. Brand anchored the first half of the innings, after the Titans chose to bat, by scoring 73, but after a wobble in the middle of the innings Makhanya’s 60 off 37 balls and Corbin Bosch’s 79 not out off 59 balls, saw them set a big target.
However it was insufficient as the home team were undone by one of the greatest knocks seen in a domestic match in recent memory.
Momentum Multiply Titans 318/6
Imperial Lions 321/7
Lions won by 3 wickets