Highveld Lions Wrap Up Title In Style

Hardus Viljoen took his fourth five-wicket haul of the competition as the Highveld Lions romped to an innings victory over the Warriors to lift the Sunfoil Series trophy in style in Johannesburg on Sunday.  Viljoen picked up four of the nine wickets that the bizhub Highveld Lions required on the final day and finished with figures of 5/59, as the Warriors were bowled out for 213 in their second innings to lose the game by an innings and 51 runs.  There is no doubt that the Lions are deserved champions – this was their seventh victory of a tournament in which no other side managed more than four, meaning they finished almost 40 points clear at the top of the table.

Such was their dominance that they broke the record for the highest points tally in the four-day franchise competition, with their 151.64 beating the 149.24 earned by The Unlimited Titans in the 2006/07 season.  Geoffrey Toyana’s side picked up a winner’s cheque of R1-million for their efforts.  Their captain, Stephen Cook, ended as the top run scorer with 889 runs at an average of 63.5, while Viljoen and Kagiso Rabada were joint second on the wicket-taking list with 39 scalps each.

The Lions needed just 43 overs to wrap up the match on the final day.  Although the Chevrolet Warriors resumed on a steady-looking 73/1, Chris Morris struck twice within the first hour to remove overnight batsman Michael Price (42) as well as Somila Seyibokwe.  Rabada grabbed his 39th victim of the campaign when he bowled Daryl Brown, and thereafter it was the Viljoen show as he bowled eight overs on the bounce either side of lunch to take four of the last five wickets and record match figures of 8/108.

Morris grabbed the other one to finish with figures of 3/51 in the second innings.  With the Cobras victorious over the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg, the Warriors finished in last place, having failed to win a game in the second half of the competition.