Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana praised his team for the tenacity they displayed to repel the Cape Cobras’ final-day onslaught and secure a draw in their Sunfoil Series clash in Paarl over the weekend. Led by centurion Dwaine Pretorius, the Johannesburg-based side ended an epic day four on 287/9 from 140 overs in their follow-on innings. Final wicket pair Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie batted for over 14 overs together to ensure the hard work done by Pretorius, who batted for over four hours to make 101, was not wasted.
Toyana says: ‘I’ve never been involved in something so tight, it was so tense there at the end. It was quite an up and down game considering how well we were going along in the first innings. We were 235 odd for two and to collapse like we did, that in itself was hardly believable and something I’ve never seen in all my involvement in first-class cricket.’ The Lions were dismissed for 252 in response to the Cobras’ mammoth 570/4 declared – a deficit of 318. They were staring defeat in the face late on the final day when they fell to 253/7 and with over 25 overs still to bat, but almost miraculously survived.
Toyana says: ‘In the second innings we had already lost three wickets by the end of the third day and it wasn’t looking very good for us. It really needed something special. I thought Pretorius played very, very well for us. But then the tail was superb and Phangi deserves a lot of credit for the way he marshalled things at the end. It was a good example of how good our franchise cricket standards are. It was a quality attack that we were facing and in the end, they threw everything at us and in the end the tail managed to hold on in tough conditions.’