Temba Bavuma. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
The Lions will meet the Dolphins Sunday’s T20 Challenge final after a relatively comfortable seven-wicket win over the Warriors in Durban on Saturday.
Captain Temba Bavuma was the star for his team, scoring an unbeaten 48 off 37 balls (1 fours, 2 sixes) as they chased down 142 at Kingsmead with five deliveries to spare.
The performance of the skipper added to an opening stand of 59 between Reeza Hendricks (32) and Ryan Rickelton (23) that had set the Johannesburg-based side on their way after Wiaan Mulder (1/11) and Aaron Phangiso (1/20) had earlier shone with the ball.
In the end the Warriors’ total proved a few runs short of really testing the formidable line-up of the Lions, which will now go on to meet the Dolphins in what is a repeat of the One-Day Cup final that was shared a few weeks earlier on account of rain in Potchefstroom.
Things could easily have gone against Wandile Gwavu’s side, though, after the first part of the clash hosted by the coastal city went strongly in favour of the Eastern Cape franchise.
After winning the toss and batting, they raced to 71 for none in 8.4 overs thanks to Wihan Lubbe’s striking 52 off 38 balls (5 fours, 1 six) and 23 by Jon-Jon Smuts.
But it all went horribly wrong from there as they lost four for 24 in the next 6.3 overs.
Fortunately they had rookie batsman Tristan Stubbs find the fence a few times, with his 37 off 26 balls lifting them to 141 for six.
The Lions too managed a good start as Hendricks and Rickelton produced a fine start from their first 7.3 overs. However, the Warriors then threatened a comeback thanks to the outstanding Smuts (1/18).
But Bavuma helped them regroup and, together with Rassie van der Dussen (17) and Mulder (15*), finished the job without much fuss.