A combination of magnificent hitting from Highveld Lions captain Neil McKenzie and unseasonal Free State rain helped the Highveld Lions to a convincing win.
A combination of magnificent hitting from Highveld Lions captain Neil McKenzie and unseasonal Free State rain helped the Highveld Lions to a convincing, Duckworth-Lewis assisted victory by 28 runs in the Standard Bank Pro20 match against the Gestetner Eagles at Goodyear Park on Sunday.
A brilliant, unbeaten 85 from just 49 balls from McKenzie led the visitors to 174-4 after being asked to bat first and the home side, having had their target reduced to 125 from just 14 overs, limped to a sorry 40-4 before rain returned to end their misery.
McKenzie included five fours and four sixes in his innings against a struggling Eagles attack on a pitch made livelier than normal for the seam bowlers by heavy showers in the morning and during the innings.
Ironically the Lions were in early trouble after a double strike by left arm swing bowler Cliffie Deacon who clean bowled both openers, Adam Bacher (2) and Stephen Cook (20) to reduce the visitors to 31-2.
But McKenzie paced himself with stunning effect playing classic cricket strokes for the first half of his innings before signalling a change of tempo with an improvised sweep shot for four against medium pacer Ryan McLaren which brought him 50 from just 34 balls.
The Eagles bowlers were a mixture of the very good and the disastrous with Deacon returning a superb analysis of 4-10 from his four overs while Roger Telemachus conceded just 22 from his four.
Thandi Tshabalala, however, was thumped for 22 from his final over by Andy Blignaut (32 from 16 balls) to concede 47 from four overs while an even worse fate befell Ryan McLaren who, struggling with a damp ball, was removed from the attack by the umpires after bowling a second 'beamer' at the beginning of the final over.
Opening batsman Davey Jacobs was forced to bowl the final over of the innings and was immediately struck over the midwicket boundary for consecutive sixes by McKenzie by way of a welcome.
Lions Supersub Gerard de Bruin, who was introduced at the 10-minute break between innings in place of Cook, claimed two wickets in his only over to finish with the outrageous analysis of 1-0-1-2.