The Highveld Lions continued their march towards the Sunfoil Series title as they overcame a spirited final-day effort from the Knights to record their fifth win of the season. The bizhub Highveld Lions’ 10-wicket victory was far from a certainty for the first half of the fourth day in Bloemfontein, but once Hardus Viljoen had broken through the Knights middle order, Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius made light work of the lower order to bowl the Knights out for 289. That left the Lions requiring 97 for victory with 30 overs remaining in the day, but they were in no mood to leave their fate up to the gods – as they had in drawing their last outing due to bad light – and so openers Stephen Cook and Rassie Van Der Dussen knocked off the runs in just 14.3 overs.
With another 19.06 points in the bag, the Lions stayed 17.58 points clear of the second-placed Dolphins, whom they will take on in Durban next week. It took another fine collective bowling effort to set this victory up. Rabada (3/52) made the first breakthrough of the day after the Knights had resumed on 76/0; Chris Morris (2/66) took the vital wicket of top scorer Rudi Second (67); Viljoen (2/60) put a halt to a developing partnership of 85 between Second and Patrick Botha (42); and Pretorius (3/35) chipped in at various stages of the innings.
With Eddie Leie bowling with discipline to restrict the Chevrolet Knights when the seamers needed a rest, the overall effect was that the batsmen never had it easy. Also impressive was the way that the Lions openers switched into one-day mode to make sure of the victory, with Cook and Van Der Dussen each hitting seven fours and a six as they collectively scored at 6.82 to the over. Cook finished unbeaten on 49 from 34 balls to take his season average to 66 – the highest in the competition – while Van der Dussen made 46 in 55 deliveries.