Petersen praises Lions

Alviro Petersen (Gallo)
Alviro Petersen (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Skipper Alviro Petersen lauded his Highveld Lions team after they stole the early momentum from the Mumbai Indians to win their opening match of the Champions League T20 tournament at the Wanderers on Sunday.

“The first five overs didn’t really go according to plan - too many extras, wide balls, that sort of stuff," Petersen said.

“I wasn’t happy, then [Aaron] Phangiso came in and almost wrestled the momentum back to us.

“From there the bowlers were fantastic. We just kept the momentum right up until the end when we won the game.”

Chasing 158 runs to win, Petersen insisted the Lions were confident they could reach their target, with veteran Neil McKenzie, who made 68 not out, and teenager Quinton de Kock, unbeaten on 51, guiding their side to an eight-wicket victory with seven balls to spare.

“I think throughout, we felt that we had it under control," Petersen said.

"We knew that with only two wickets down, we had wickets, and if you take it to the last five overs, you always back the batting side.

“I thought we had some great experience there [in Neil McKenzie] and Quinton, who is playing well at the moment.

“I felt the dugout was quite relaxed and we knew exactly how these two were going to take it, so I was pretty happy about that.

“We won’t be dominating from ball one till the end but today (Sunday) was pretty convincing.”

Man of the Match McKenzie, who shared a domestic Twenty20 record stand of 121 runs with De Kock for the third wicket, praised his younger batting partner.

“He hasn’t been around for long but he’s got a good head on him, [and should] just keep playing his natural game," McKenzie said.

"If you look at all his boundaries, there’s no slogging, just good cricket shots.”

McKenzie said De Kock’s ability to hit a long ball ensured the Lions were able to stick to their plan during the chase.

“Just as we are starting to get bogged down, he [De Kock] clears one over midwicket, so I knew we had the firepower," McKenzie said.

“You need to bat to a plan. At the Wanderers you get value for shots.

"If you have wickets in hand, you can chase anything at the Wanderers. Just beat point and it runs for four.”

The Lions face the Chennai Super Kings in their next group match in Cape Town on Tuesday.

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