No separating the Eagles and Lions
When the platteland dust cleared in Bloemfontein on Friday night, the Lions and the Eagles had tied their Standard Bank Pro20 match.
And that despite a masterful blast from opener Alviro Petersen, who faced 48 balls for his 64 and spiked his innings with seven fours and a six. Petersen's valiant effort wasn't enough to nudge the visitors past the Eagles, who were bowled out for 152 in 19.4 overs. In reply, the Lions mustered 152 for seven.
The Eagles, who won the toss and chose to bat, soared to 130 for two in the 15th over before sacrificing their last eight wickets for 22 runs. Loots Bosman and Jacques Rudolph launched the innings in style with their stand of 66 for the first wicket. Bosman blitzed his 47 off 22 balls, while Rudolph clipped his 46 off 40 balls.
Morne van Wyk (23) helped Rudolph add another 53 runs for the second wicket after Heinrich le Roux bowled Bosman in the seventh over. The Lions' fightback started when Werner Coetsee dismissed Rudolph in the 15th over.
Three overs later, Garnett Kruger grabbed the wickets of Ryan McLaren (4), Boeta Dippenaar (0) and Roger Telemachus (0) in the space of six balls. Add the runouts of Dillon du Preez (9) and Ryan Bailey (0), and it wasn't difficult to see why the Eagles' beaks drooped dramatically. Kruger finished with three for 22.
The Lions started their reply solidly enough in a stand of 47 for the first wicket between Petersen and Jean Symes. But Telemachus bowled Symes for 19 in the sixth over, and six overs later the visitors were 88 for five and sinking fast. That was when Petersen and Le Roux stepped in with a stand of 53 that took the Lions all the way to the 18th over, and left them to score a run a ball off the last two overs.
However, Petersen's dismissal was followed by that of Coetsee (0), and that snapped the Lions' momentum and saw them fall that single, crucial run short of winning.
Telemachus and Thandi Tshabalala took two wickets each.