The Central Gauteng Lions avoided an enormous upset and an early exit from the CSA Provincial T20 Cup by the narrowest of margins as they sneaked past Northern Cape in a Super Over after their match was tied after 40 overs of regular play at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.
Sisanda Magala was the hero as his 25 off 15 balls snuck the Lions into the Super Over and he then conceded just five runs when he was defending eight, courtesy of a six by Ryan Rickelton.
The Lions were initially chasing 158, and Mitchell van Buuren announced himself on the senior domestic stage as he kept the Lions on target with an outstanding 61 off 31 balls after fiery fast bowler Jan van Dyk had struck twice in the powerplay.
But all-rounder Evan Jones took two wickets in the 14th over and added a third in his next over, and when Van Buuren was dismissed by Andrew Rasemene, Beyers Swanepoel taking a steepling catch at cow-corner, in the 17th over, the Lions were left needing 26 off the last three overs.
Magala played some fine aggressive strikes though to almost get them over the line. But Rasemene also had him caught in the deep with a wide slower-ball to ensure Northern Cape briefly stayed alive.
In the Super Over, Van Buuren was dismissed first ball by Jones, Jerome Xaba taking a superb running catch at deep square-leg. Rickelton hit his six, was dropped next ball as the Lions ran two, and then edged behind to leave his team ‘all out’ for 8.
But that was enough for Magala, who produced an impressive display of skill, relying on slower balls and a fuller length to bamboozle Jones and Qaasim Adams.
Jones did however take the bowling honours for Northern Cape with three for 28 and then his Super Over brace, while Van Dyk was highly impressive with three for 16 in four overs. Spinner Aubrey Swanepoel took one for 19 in four overs.
Earlier, opening batsman Ernest Kemm had taken charge of the Northern Cape innings, batting through to score a brilliantly-compiled 83 not out off 55 balls, leading them to a competitive total of 157 for seven after electing to bat first on a slowish pitch.
It was a top-class innings by a 30-year-old who had a taste of franchise cricket with the Titans, and pretty much a lone hand as the next highest score was fellow opener Jonathan Vandiar’s 23.
Ruan Haasbroek, who represented North-West in angling as a teen, netted four big fish with his off-breaks and conceded just 28 runs in his four overs as he led the Lions bowling, while Lutho Sipamla was excellent with two for 31 and spinner Tshepo Ntuli (4-0-24-0) and paceman Magala (4-0-29-0) were tidy.