Royal Challengers hold advantage over Lions
The Royal Challengers battled back to restrict the Highveld Lions to a total of just 159-6 after Alviro Petersen had got the Lions off to a flying start at the Wanderers in a must win game for both sides.
Having won the toss the Lions got off to an encouraging start thanks to Petersen and Jonathan Vandiar who smashed 26 runs off the first 3 overs to put the Lions in charge before Vinay Kumar hit back with two quick wickets.
The pair played some beautiful cricket shots peppering the boundaries with 3 fours and a six before Vandiar attempted a wild slog off a short delivery from Kumar which he edged to Robin Uthappa behind the stumps.
Kumar struck again with his next delivery to remove Richard Cameron with a perfect length delivery which shaped away from the batsman’s off stump and was edged to the wicket keeper to leave the Lions 29-2.
Despite losing two quick wickets Petersen continued his charge with new partner Vaughn van Jaarsveld offering support during a 2nd wicket partnership of 43.
The pair took advantage of the field restrictions during the final two overs of the power play smashing Praveen Kumar for two fours and Vinay Kumar for two sixes to reach 57-2, their best total after 6 overs.
With the runs starting to flow Anil Kumble brought himself into the attack conceding just 5 runs in the 7th over but the arrival of Dale Steyn an over later cost the Royal Challengers 11 runs despite picking up the wicket of van Jaarsveld (24) who was run out after a mix up with Petersen.
The loss of van Jaarsveld was a blow for the home side but Petersen and Neil McKenzie made sure they wouldn’t lose the momentum with a quick fire partnership of 27 before Petersen’s (45) brilliant innings was ended by Kumble.
The lose of their skipper left the Lions 100-4 but more importantly tipped the balance of the game in the favour of the Royal Challengers who increased the pressure by denying McKenzie and Zander de Bruyn many scoring opportunities as the run rate decreased to just over 7 a over.
Kumble completed his four over spell with the excellent figures of 13-1 to leave the Lions 111-4 with only 5 overs remaining after they had reached the midway point of their innings 83-3.
With the pressure mounting de Bruyn (7) tried to break the shackles but his attempted slog off the bowling of Dillion du Preez fell short of the boundary safely into the hands of Virat Kohli to leave the Lions 128-5.
McKenzie (39) quickly followed after he was run out by Kohli to leave Robert Frylinck (22) and Thami Tsolekile (5) to see out the final 7 balls of the innings adding a vital 19 runs to help the Lions reach 159-6.