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De Villiers tears Lions apart

AB de Villiers amassed the second highest score in Standard Bank Pro20 history as the Nashua Titans beat the Highveld Lions by six wickets with eight balls to spare in their match at SuperSport Park on Wednesday night.

AB de Villiers amassed the second highest score in Standard Bank Pro20 history as the Nashua Titans beat the Highveld Lions by six wickets with eight balls to spare in their match at SuperSport Park on Wednesday night.

De Villiers' 91 not out, which included seven sixes, also saw him overtake Lions captain Neil McKenzie as the season's highest run-scorer. His divine innings also included five fours and he began with three sixes in Gerhard de Bruin's first 12 balls.

De Bruin then surprisingly returned at the death with 25 runs needed off 18 balls but a poor over saw De Villiers and Gerald Dros plunder 17 runs to all but ensure victory.

De Villiers opened the batting with Gulam Bodi, who enjoyed himself as well in scoring five fours and a six in his 36 off 33 balls as the Titans made their winning intentions clear from the start with a solid first-wicket stand of 93 off 68 deliveries.

Bodi was wonderfully caught by Andy Blignaut as he skied an attempted slog-sweep off Adam Bacher and the canny Lions bowler then claimed Albie Morkel for seven as the left-hander chopped on.

But Dros hit two magnificent sixes as he smeared 24 off 11 balls to help settle the issue as McKenzie somewhat lost the plot with unreliable fielders patrolling the boundary and the wrong bowlers brought on at the death.

Debutant Jaco Campher ran in hard for the Lions and nearly bounced a couple of quick balls past De Villiers' nose, but the classy international batsman eventually sunk the Lions' home semi-final hopes with a fluent innings that electrified a crowd of over 11 000.

An untidy Titans team earlier had 179 for four plundered off their bowling by the Highveld Lions.

Adam Bacher, Neil McKenzie and Vaughn van Jaarsveld all kept the run-rate galloping along against wayward Titans bowling after the Lions had won the toss and chosen to make first use of a beautiful pitch.

The Titans struck first with an early wicket, Stephen Cook (13) skying a tester to Aaron Phangiso at point off Brendon Reddy, but the next 15 overs were wonderful to watch from a Lions perspective.

Bacher scored his second half-century of the competition, 52 off 37 balls, hitting six fine boundaries and a six, generally with classical cricket strokes.

The best batting of the innings came from McKenzie, however, who went to 66 off just 48 deliveries. Playing every stroke in the book, and some sublime creations of his own, he inspired the Lions to a gala finish, leaving the Titans nine-an-over to chase when at one stage eight-an-over looked likely.

The Titans were run ragged as McKenzie and Van Jaarsveld added 83 off just 43 balls.

Young Van Jaarsveld started scratchily, but by the end of his innings he was timing and placing the ball perfectly as he smashed 35 off just 18 balls, with six fours.

The Titans had nothing much to enthuse about bowling-wise, although Reddy dismissed Van Jaarsveld and McKenzie with successive deliveries in the final over to finish with three for 37.

Albie Morkel was the best of the Titans bowlers, however, taking one for 22 in his four overs, while the reason left-arm spinner Phangiso saw no more action after bowling one tidy over for four runs will probably remain a mystery.

source - pro20.co.za
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