Temba Bavuma may have struck just a lone four, but he added two sweetly-struck sixes, steering the Lions to a tricky target of 142 and a place in the T20 Challenge final as they beat the Warriors by seven wickets in the playoff at Kingsmead on Saturday.
Bavuma’s beautifully-judged innings of 48 not out off 37 balls saw the Lions cruise to victory with five balls to spare, even though they were forced to bat second on a pitch that was getting lower and slower.
He received important help from opener Reeza Hendricks, who gave the Lions a superb start of 45 without loss in the powerplay with his 32 off just 19 deliveries, and Rassie van der Dussen, who scored 17 in a third-wicket stand of 61 off 51 balls.
Left-arm spinners Jon-Jon Smuts (4-0-18-1) and Jade de Klerk (3-0-23-0) were the Warriors’ most effective bowlers, but they inexplicably failed to use impressive left-arm wrist-spinner Lizo Makhosi in conditions that would have suited him, even when they were desperate to buy a wicket when Bavuma was in complete control.
The Warriors made a great start to the match as Wihan Lubbe and Smuts (23) shared an opening stand of 71 off only 53 balls.
But the innings rather ran out of steam when Lubbe was caught at long-on off Sisanda Magala for a powerful 52 off 38 balls that included some great blows.
Young Tristan Stubbs was the provider of some impetus with his 37 off 26 balls, but the Warriors eventually closed on 141 for six.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso (4-0-20-1) gave the Lions tremendous control in the middle overs, assisted by seamer Wiaan Mulder (3-0-11-1), while left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks (4-0-26-1) ensured a strong finish in the field with some excellent death bowling.
The Lions will now play the Dolphins in Sunday’s final.