A first-innings batting meltdown by the Highveld Lions saw their Sunfoil Series prospects go up in smoke on the opening day of their clash against the Warriors on Port Elizabeth on Thursday. Sisanda Magala claimed the outstanding figures of 6/25 in 12 overs as the visitors were sent packing for a hapless 68 in 36 overs – the lowest total overall this season. Andrew Birch also played his hand with a superb 3/19 – the Lions being dismissed for their second lowest total ever against the Eastern Cape outfit.
Colin Ackermann then made 65 (124 balls, nine fours) as the hosts reached 171/4 nine overs before the scheduled closed after bad light ended play. That gave the Warriors a lead of 103 and left the Lions needing a miracle to defend the title they won 12 months ago. They started the day by losing the toss and being put into bat.
Despite Birch making the early inroads, they still managed to reach 60/4 just after lunch. But their remaining six wickets crumbled for only eight runs giving Magala his best ever figures. Debutant Kagiso Rapulana top-scored with 20.
David White then fell to Hardus Viljoen, who claimed all four wickets to fall, without a run on the board as the Lions were momentarily given hope. But Ackermann was then involved partnerships of 63 with Edward Moore (38) and 87 with Somila Seyibokwe (47 not out) as the hosts ended the day in total control. Viljoen finished with figures of 4/75.