Johannesburg — George Linde’s gutsy unbeaten 67 saw his side claim what for most of the afternoon looked a highly unlikely victory in a One-Day Cup match against a disjointed Lions outfit at the Imperial Wanderers on Sunday.
Western Province had slumped to 112/7 in the 33rd over in pursuit of a modest target, and an early exit for the small group of spectators allowed into this vast venue appeared to be in the offing.
Instead Linde, who played a couple of ODIs in Sri Lanka last year but is now deemed surplus to requirements at national level, kept his composure, played smartly and forged crucial partnerships for the eight and ninth wickets to get his side close to victory. It was left to Beuran Hendricks to thump the last ball of the match, bowled by Wiaan Mulder, over cow corner for six to seal the visiting team’s victory.
It wasn't a good day for the respective batters in the two sides, on a tricky surface, but not one where they should have struggled to make 200.
The Lions, who were put into bat, crashed to 87/7 in the 22nd over. From there, Rassie van der Dussen, who had dug his side out of a hole last Friday night against the Warriors in the competition opener, found himself in a tougher position this time in the company of Sisanda Magala.
Magala of course was at the centre of attention last week after being omitted from the Proteas squad for the series against Bangladesh that starts on Friday because of a failed fitness test. Against the Warriors he took 6/55 and on Sunday continued his trolling of the national selectors, displaying his wares with both bat and ball.
He and Van der Dussen shared a 102-run partnership for the eighth wicket, with both running well between the wickets - something that may surprise many given Magala’s build. Van der Dussen’s was a workmanlike innings, coming off 92 balls and including five fours.
Magala played some thumping drives through the covers as he made 57 that came off 64 balls and included six boundaries.
Van der Dussen was last man out for 67 in the 44th over, and despite his and Magala’s good work, the home team were woefully short of a decent total.
But Magala continued to keep them in the game, taking three wickets including a fine caught and bowled to dismiss Kyle Verreynne.
The Lions however took their foot off the gas, and Linde was able to share a 37-run eighth wicket partnership with Mihlali Mpongwana and a critical 16-run ninth wicket stand with Tsepo Moreki, afterwhich Hendricks delivered the coup de grace at the end.
Imperial Lions 186
Six Gun Grill WP 190/9
WP won by one wicket