The Highveld Lions bowlers once again showed their ability to hunt as a pack as they bowled the Knights out for 248 on the opening day of the Sunfoil Series match in Bloemfontein. While Chris Morris was the top wicket-taker in the innings, claiming figures of 3/40, all five of the bizhub Highveld Lions bowlers made an impression as Knights captain Werner Coetsee proved the only batsman capable of holding them off. Coetsee was left stranded on 65 when he ran out of partners, and although just 82.4 overs had been bowled when the Chevrolet Knights were dismissed, no further play was possible because afternoon rain had twice held up the match.
The Knights won the toss and elected to bat, but it was Morris who started and ended proceedings. He had Gihahn Cloete caught behind in the ninth over of the day, and the Lions managed a steady trickle of wickets thereafter. Hardus Viljoen had both Tumelo Bodibe and the dangerous Reeza Hendricks (39) caught behind by wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile, while Dwaine Pretorius (2/33) grabbed the scalps of Rudi Second and Patrick Botha in his first game back after an injury layoff.
Morris returned to trap Obus Pienaar lbw for 41, and after Kagiso Rabada had bowled Shadley Van Schalkwyk, legspinner Eddie Leie (2/64) picked up two late wickets – one off the final ball of his 12th over, and the other off the first ball of his 13th. A rain delay gave him plenty of time to ponder the hat-trick ball, but in the end Quinton Friend successfully saw it off. Stephen Cook recalled Morris, thereafter, and the pace man duly finished the job to keep the Lions on track for a potential fifth win of the season.