Warriors crush Lions to go second

Gihahn Cloete (Gallo Images)
Gihahn Cloete (Gallo Images)

Cape Town -  A 107-run opening stand between Gihahn Cloete and Matthew Breetzke paved the way for the Warriors to climb second on the CSA T20 Challenge table after a thumping nine-wicket bonus-point win over the Highveld Lions in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Both batsmen hit half-centuries with right-hander Breetzke top-scoring with an unbeaten career-best 72 off 45 balls (5 fours, 4 sixes), while the left-handed Cloete struck a fluid 54 off 33 balls (7 fours, 2 sixes) – the visitors winning with 33 balls to spare.

It was a result that vaulted the Eastern Cape franchise above their hosts and to within two points of the Cape Cobras, who beat the Titans in the other big game of the evening.

And the Warriors fully deserved their move after earlier turning in an efficient all-round bowling display that had limited the hosts to 144 for six.

The Warriors won the toss and opted to bowl first, a decision that proved spot on as they kept the Lions batsmen on their toes throughout.

Star pair Ryan Rickelton (1) and Rassie van der Dussen (2) fell inside the opening three overs, leaving the home side on eight for two, Lutho Sipamla and Andrew Birch (both 1/29) the men to strike.

Reeza Hendricks (29) and Temba Bavuma (24) stabilised things momentarily by recovering their side to 55 for two. But three quick strikes left the Lions in a huge hole on 61 for five – Jon-Jon Smuts (1/22), Sisanda Magala (1/25) and Sithembile Langa (1/19) all striking.

Dwaine Pretorius managed to rescue his team with an unbeaten 48 off 27 balls, with support offered by Nono Pongolo (33) as they managed to scratch up a competitive total.

But Cloete and Breetze flew out of the blocks with their century opening stand, before Smuts (11 not out) helped carry his side over the line.

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