It took a boundary count to separate the Highveld Lions and the Knights in Potchefstroom on Sunday after they tied their Ram Slam T20 encounter and also tied the one-over eliminator. The bizhub Highveld Lions came away with the points and went top of the table thanks to their 11 fours and seven sixes, which was marginally better than the 14 fours and three sixes that the Knights managed. Such were the margins involved in a game that was in constant flux, and that ended with both sides scoring 161 for seven in their 20 overs and then seven for one in the Super Over.
The tension seen at the end of the game had built over the course of the Chevrolet Knights’ chase, which saw them recover from 90 for five in the 14th over to a situation where they needed two runs from the final two balls. Obus Pienaar had been responsible for getting them close as he hit 43 off 25 balls, but he found himself stranded at the non-striker’s end as Hardus Viljoen bowled Werner Coetsee with the penultimate ball of the chase and then kept Shadley Van Schalkwyk to a leg-bye from the last delivery. There was similar drama in the super over, and similar disappointment for the chasing side.
Although Chris Gayle hit the first ball for four, he was bowled by Andre Russell from the next delivery and Russell limited Chris Morris and Alviro Petersen to three singles thereafter. The Lions’ relief was palpable when the boundary count was checked and they were declared the overall winners, putting them four points ahead of the Knights and the Nashua Cobras. The Lions total had featured another attractive innings from Gayle, who shared in an 80-run stand with fellow opener Petersen before he was run out for 50 from 38 balls in the 10th over.
Despite Petersen and Neil McKenzie contributing 34 apiece to lay a solid platform, the Lions fell away in the final five overs as they lost five wickets. The Knights made an ideal start to their reply, with openers Rudi Second and Gerhardt Abrahams (30) bringing up the 50 inside five overs, but two separate collapses left the Lions firm favourites. Pienaar brought the Knights back into contention, but he was unable to finish the job and the Knights ultimately lost out.