POTCHEFSTROOM – Jon-Jon Smuts starred with bat and ball as the Warriors beat the rain to complete a compelling four-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over the Highveld Lions and take charge of their RamSlam T20 Challenge destiny in Potchefstroom on Friday night.
Knowing that only a win would suffice, the visitors first made 133/4 in 17.1 overs, before returning to defend a revised 97-run 10-over target by restricting the hosts to 92/7 at Senwes Park.
Around 90 minutes were lost at one stage due to lightning and rain, threatening to wash out the game and with it the Warriors’ prospects.
At that point, they had done well to storm back after struggling initially when Smuts won the toss and opted to bat first.
The captain had not been at his fluent best this season, which has clearly hampered his side, but his 69 not out (52 balls, 10x4) put them on course for a sizeable total alongside Christiaan Jonker, who had just found his range by reaching 30.
Bjorn Fortuin (2/22) was the chief destroyer for the Lions.
After the rain break, the Lions kept up with the rate thanks to an unbeaten 41 from their star batsman of the season, Reeza Hendricks.
They needed 12 from the final over, but Andrew Birch conceded a mere seven to end with figures of 1/11, while Smuts’ two overs came at the cost of 1/9.
The pick of the lot was Sisanda Magala, thanks to his 2/19 as the Warriors pulled off an impressive win.
It leaves them now in fourth and knowing that victory over the Cape Cobras on Sunday will put them through.
The Lions, now in fifth, host the Knights on Sunday, when both sides will be relying on a win and results going in their favour to progress.
African News Agency (ANA)