Warriors beat Lions to make semis
Zander de Bruyn's measured half-century had the Eastern Cape Warriors celebrating a semi-final place as they beat the Highveld Lions by six wickets in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at Buffalo Park on Wednesday.
De Bruyn's 73 off 62 balls may not be the briskest knock played in Pro20, but it was the perfect innings for the circumstances as the Warriors chased a modest 154 for victory.
Captain De Bruyn and Justin Kreusch gave the Warriors a quick start as they put on 37 for the first wicket in four overs before Tyron Henderson had Kreusch skying an attempted pull after he had raced to 23 with four boundaries.
But De Bruyn continued to score freely without taking many risks and the match was basically won by his stand of 100 off 76 balls with HD Ackerman, before both batsmen fell in successive deliveries with victory in sight.
Ackerman continued his fine form in the competition as he scored 31 off 29 balls, before he popped back a return catch to Werner Coetsee.
Henderson immediately bowled De Bruyn with an excellent yorker, the paceman bowling impressively to finish with two for 28 in his four overs.
Murray Goodwin (6*) and Johan Botha (2*) then edged the Warriors over the finishing line with three balls to spare.
Apart from Henderson, off-spinner Coetsee once again proved adept at hindering run-scoring as his four overs cost just 25 runs, while Gerhard de Bruin bowled tidily in a series of one-over spells, including the last over, in which he just had three runs to defend.
The Warriors had earlier restricted the Highveld Lions to 153 for seven, despite a quickfire half-century by opener Alviro Petersen.
Petersen raced to a 37-ball half-century, with 10 fours, before the Warriors slow bowlers came on and regained a measure of control.
Paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe produced a fine new-ball spell, having Blake Snijman (2) well-caught by a diving Craig Thyssen at backward point, but Petersen and Neil McKenzie punished the other seamers as they added 68 off 63 balls for the second wicket.
But the pair began to get bogged down against the spinners and Petersen, who went on to score 63 off 54 balls, miscued a drive off Arno Jacobs to long-on.
Warriors skipper De Bruyn rotated spinners Jacobs, Botha and Corbyn Dolley and it ensured the Lions batsmen failed to get momentum, while the return of Tsotsobe for an over served to remove key man McKenzie, bowled for 21.
The Lions were indebted to the late hitting of Dumisa Makalima, who raced to 34 not out off just 16 balls, with four fours and a six, for their total which was defendable, if modest, on a placid, slow pitch.
For all the good work of spinners Jacobs (4-0-31-2), Botha (4-0-30-1) and Dolley (4-0-36-1), who took four for 97 in their combined 12 overs, it was Tsotsobe who took the bowling honours with excellent figures of two for 23 in his four overs.
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