Six Gun Grill Western Province stumbled home by five wickets and five balls to spare against the Imperial Lions in the CSA T20 Challenge at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Having won the toss and electing to bowl first, Beuren Hendricks (4-1-25-2), Junaid Dawood (4-0-23-2) and Mihlali Mpongwana (3-0-19-1) restricted the Lions to just 140 for five in their 20 overs. Mitchell van Buuren top-scored for the Johannesburg-based side with 44 from 34 deliveries while Kagiso Rapulana ended unbeaten on 32 from 36 balls.
In response, WP, without the services of the big-hitting Richard Levi, made life difficult for themselves as Yassen Vallie (21 not out) and Aviwe Mgijima (16 not out) had to fight to the last over to secure the four points and send the Cape Town side to the top of the CSA T20 Challenge log.
Having posted a below-par score on a good pitch, the Lions never gave up even when it seemed that Western Province were cruising to victory with Tony de Zorzi (42) and Dane Vilas (8) at the crease, needing 53 runs at a run a ball.
However, Vilas was tamely stumped by Ruan Haasbroek from the spin of Bjorn Fortuin (4-0-31-1), taking two attempts to knock the bails off and the De Zorzi, who had struck three fours and two sixes from 31 balls, tamely gave his wicket away, trying to lap Codi Yusuf (4-0-20-1) over the short fine leg only for Joshua Richards to take a simple catch.
Wayne Parnell elevated himself up the order but was ridiculously run out without scoring as WP slumped from 113 for three to 113 for five before Vallie and Mgijima scored the 28 runs needed for victory, with Mgijima driving Malusi Siboto (3.1-0-20-0) for four off the first ball of the final over.
Jonathan Bird (8) departed early, clean-bowled by Sidanda Magala (4-0-24-1) before a 47-run second-wicket stand between Gavin Kaplan (39) and De Zorzi put Western Province in the driving seat. Kaplan, who struck four boundaries and two sixes from 32 balls, was caught on the deep square-leg fence by Shane Dadswell from the spin of Tshepo Ntuli (3-0-29-1).
Earlier, Hendricks gave WP the perfect start as the left-arm seamer dismissed Richards (1) and Reeza Hendricks (7) in his second over to leave the Lions eight for two.
Dadswell (27) and Mitchell van Buuren (44) restored some order to the Lions innings with a 48-run stand for the third wicket but then Dawood clean-bowled Dadswell, who faced 16 balls and struck five boundaries. When Mpongwana had Van Buuren caught by Parnell at mid-on, the Lions’ impetus was lost.
Haasbroek (8) struck one six before holing out to Bird on the deep cover fence from the bowling of Dawood, Rapulana and Magala (19 not out) struggle to find the fence. Magala was dropped by Mgijima at long-on from the bowling of Hendricks when he was on two and then proceed to smash the next delivery out of the stadium for six.
But Hendricks and Parnell (4-0-24-0) bowled beautifully at the death, conceding just 32 runs in the final four overs to keep the Lions down to a below-par score.
**As published on SuperSport.com