An impressive bowling display by Sisanda Magala helped the Lions to climb top of the T20 Challenge table following an easy eight-wicket victory over the Knights in Durban on Tuesday.
Magala ended with five for 20 in his four overs to help ensure that the Knights struggled throughout their innings.
Wandile Gwavu’s charges ruthlessly dismissed their opponents for just 106, before Reeza Hendricks (47) and Temba Bavuma (53* off 47 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) did the bulk of the scoring to help reach the target with 11 deliveries to spare.
A third win out of three matches for the Lions for the Lions put them at the top of the table with 12 points, the same number as the Dolphins.
Defeat for the Knights all but ends their interest in the competition. They will need to win their final match against the Warriors on Thursday and hope several other results go in their favour to have any chance of reaching the play-offs.
However, day five’s afternoon match was all about the Lions and their clinical display on the east coast.
After the Knights won the toss and batted, they were given no chance by their opposition pack of bowlers.
Beuran Hendricks (2/21) removed openers Patrick Kruger (2) and Jacques Snyman (6), with Raynard van Tonder (6) dismissed by Magala in between.
That left the Central Franchise on 15 for three early on, before the dependable Pite van Biljon tried to rebuild with 15.
But both the captain and Grant Mokoena (8) fell to Aaron Phangiso (2/14) in the same over to leave the opposition in further strife on 40 for five.
Behardien (28) top-scored for his side and together with Ferisco Adams (23) managed to at least get their side to 100, but Magala proved too good for the Knights’ tail – their innings ending with the final delivery of their 20 overs.
It was the best figures by the 30-year-old and beat his previous best haul of five for 28 for the Warriors against his current team at Port Elizabeth in 2015/16.
Rising star Gerald Coetzee (2/19), handed his first game by coach Allan Donald, then rattled the Lions early on by removing Ryan Rickelton (0) and Dwaine Pretorius (2).
However, the 93-run Bavuma-Reeza Hendricks second-wicket partnership killed off any upset hopes with the result then sealed in the penultimate over.