Bloemfontein - The bizhub Highveld Lions booked their place in the Momentum One-Day Cup qualifier after a comprehensive four-wicket win over the VKB Knights at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
After winning the toss and bowling first, the Johannesburg side knocked over their hosts for a below-par 169 in 38.3 overs, before chasing down victory with 61 balls to spare.
There were several stand-out performances with the ball for the Lions, including six wickets shared between Matt McGillivray and Eddie Leie.
Rookie fast bowler McGillivray was the pick of the bowlers with 3/32, while leg-break bowler Leie claimed 3/43.
But it was the single wicket by Aaron Phangiso (1/32) of Letlotlo Sesele (29) with the total on 109/2 that triggered a collapse of eight wickets for 60 runs.
Another inexperience bowler Carmi le Roux collected 2/29 to mop up the tail, while top scorer for the Knights was Reeza Hendricks (41).
The Lions lost stand-in opener Temba Bavuma (5) early in their chase, but his partner Stephen Cook anchored the chase with 64 (96 balls, 8 fours) to take his side to the brink.
Nicky van den Bergh (43 not out) finished the job, while Alviro Petersen (36) provided some earlier support for the captain as the visitors moved to second on the table.
With the Warriors losing to the Cape Cobras also on Saturday, the result means that the Lions cannot be caught in second and will therefore host the February 24 qualifier. The Cobras also secured themselves an automatic berth in the final they will host on February 28 by winning in Port Elizabeth.