Lions roar into CLT20 final

2012-10-26 00:00

THIS Champions League semi-final at a cloudy and windy Kingsmead was, on paper, a David and Goliath affair, with the Lions definitely the underdogs.

Having done well to progress this far, they had nothing to lose, taking on a Delhi Daredevils side that had a host of international players in the line-up, including David Warner, Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen as their top three in the batting order.

Losing the toss was all the Lions lost on the night as they stuck to their guns, particularly in the bowling department, to defend a modest 139 to win by a flattering 22 runs.

Gulam Bodi continued his fine form at the top of the order, belting his third half-century, a round 50 (4x4, 1x6), to see the Lions through to 139/5.

Quinton de Kock looked threatening, but such is the exuberance of youth, he was out, attempting to chase the pace for 11 and the idea of bringing newcomer Dwaine Pretorius up the order back-fired as he played a loose drive to be out for three.

At 63/3 it looked as though the Lions were losing their roar, but the old master Neil McKenzie still had to have his time in the middle.

And what a time it was. It’s appropriate he is playing in red as he matures with age, just like a red wine.

He delivered a master class of batting, effortlessly finding the gaps and upping the ante when needed, all with cultured cricket shots as he finished undefeated on 46 (4x4, 1x6), a man of the match performance.

In reply, the Lions bowlers stepped up to the mark with aplomb and fierce determination. None more so than quickie Chris Morris, who bagged 2/7 in his four overs, claiming the prized scalps of Warner for 21 and Pietersen for 50 — the only batsmen, other than Morné Morkel at 10 — to reach double figures.

Morkel finished unbeaten on 18 in a lost cause as the Lions utilised the conditions magnificently to set up a final on their home patch at the Wanderers on Sunday.

If the Titans can deal with the Sydney Sixers tomorrow, it will be a feather in South African cricket’s cap and a statement to the cricket world that despite a shocking performance at the World Twenty20, we still have what it takes to beat some of the world’s finest players and most respected T20 teams on the world stage.

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