Warriors fight it out for seventh consecutive victory

Lions seamer Tshepo Moreki appeals as Warriors batsman Andile Mogakane turns down a run during the CSA T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers Stadium on March 27, 2024
Lions seamer Tshepo Moreki appeals as Warriors batsman Andile Mogakane turns down a run during the CSA T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers Stadium on March 27, 2024
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images


In a match that stood in stark contrast to what the IPL was able to offer on Wednesday night, the Dafabet Warriors showed they were willing and pretty expert at getting their hands dirty, winning a scrappy CSA T20 Challenge match against the DP World Lions by two runs. 

What it lacked in quality, it more than made up for with a gripping finish, thanks to some muscular hitting from Wiaan Mulder, which dragged the match into the final over where the Lions still had a realistic chance of success, with 13 runs needed off the final six deliveries. 

The ice-cool Beyers Swanepoel produced a successful defence, helping the Warriors to stretch their lead atop the competition’s log, and take their unbeaten start to seven matches.   

Whereas it rained sixes in Hyderabad, where the Lions’ teenage starlet Kwena Maphaka made his IPL debut, enduring a brutal introduction to the sport’s most lucrative tournament, at the Wanderers, run-scoring required more grit. 

The Warriors showed the greater capacity and even skill to do so, notching up 173/4, with Andile Mogakane top-scoring with an unbeaten 73.

They backed up their batting with solidity in the field and craft with the ball, consigning the Lions to a second consecutive home defeat, which dropped them to third on the T20 Challenge points table.

For as well as the Warriors played however, there will be concerns in the Lions camp about their own lethargy, reflected by their performance in the field, which was, to put it mildly, amateurish.

After winning the toss, the dismissals of the openers Matthew Breetzke and Jiveshan Pillay inside the power play gave the Lions some early impetus.

However Mogakane was dropped three times before he’d scored 5 and while none of the opportunities were ‘sitters’ they were of the sort that players like Reeza Hendricks, who missed the second of those jumping to his left at slip, would feel they should have held onto.

Jordan Hermann, who produced some sparkling shots in his innings of 47 was also dropped when he was on 33, while there were also a number of misfields on the ground that gave the Warriors a number of let-offs. 

Hermann and Mogakane shared a partnership of 87 for the third wicket, with the latter taking advantage of the Lions’ charity to finish with a career-best innings, which came off 51 balls and included three sixes and three fours. 

Just as they did on Saturday night, the Lions again lost a wicket off the first ball, with Reeza Hendricks trapped lbw by Swanepoel. Thankfully, their start wasn’t as catastrophic as it had been against the Tuskers, though they struggled to make an impression in the first half of their run chase. 

In the 12th over, Rassie van der Dussen hit two of three sixes off the bowling of Patrick Kruger, which seemed to give the Lions a boost. 

However, he got out, playing a loose stroke, which at that stage wasn’t necessary given he’d help drop the required scoring rate below eight an over, to be out for 43. 

With the Warriors seemingly in control, Mulder then blasted four sixes, three of which came in the 19th over bowled by Alfred Mothoa, to keep the Lions’ hopes alive. Mulder, who had a strong SA20, must be in the thoughts of the national selectors for the T20 World Cup particularly given his bowling, and Wednesday night’s 43 off 20 balls, should have earned him another tick. 

He was crushed that he didn’t get his side across the line, but he wasn’t to blame for this defeat. Others in the Lions side need to look themselves in the mirror, especially the much-vaunted top four, which again failed to click as a unit. — TimesLIVE




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