Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions thrash Titans in CSA T20 semi to power into final

Despite the dominant win Lions captain Bjorn Fortuin claimed they weren’t the finished package and still had work to do ahead of the final.

Lions spinner Nqaba Peter and Proteas batter Rassie van der Dussen were the star performers as they helped the hosts power to a thumping eight wicket win over the Titans in their CSA T20 Challenge semifinal at the Wanderers on Wednesday night.

The Lions won the toss and chose to bowl, with 21-year-old Peter picking up brilliant figures of 4/16 in his four overs, while Codi Yusuf also impressed with 2/25, as they restricted the Titans to a below par 131/9 in their 18 overs.

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The game had been reduced by two overs a side in the seventh over of the Titans innings, after a floodlight failure delayed the game for around 30 minutes.

Maiden half century

The Titans were grateful to 22-year-old batter Jack Lees, in just his sixth senior T20 match, as he struck a sparkling maiden half century to give his side something to bowl at.

Lees cracked 10 fours and a six in his unbeaten 64 off 43 balls, while the only other Titans batter to reach double figures was Rivaldo Moonsamy with him hitting 24.

However the total proved to be no where near enough as Van Der Dussen took centre stage, crunching eight fours and a six in his unbeaten 73 off 45, to lead the Lions home with 20 balls to spare.

He shared in a commanding 85-run second wicket partnership with Ryan Rickelton, 36 off 28 (3×6), and an unbeaten 46-run stand with fellow Protea Temba Bavuma to ease them over the line.

Despite the dominant win Lions captain Bjorn Fortuin claimed they weren’t the finished package and still had work to do ahead of the final on Sunday, which they will hosts against either the Dolphins or Warriors as they battle out the second semi on Thursday night.

Touch up

“I can’t complain. There are still a few aspects that we need to touch up on before the final, with a couple of the bowlers, myself included. But I am very happy with the way we went with the bat tonight and hopefully we can continue that in the final,” said Fortuin.

“We have had guys stand up at different times of the competition. Earlier on our seamers were doing nicely and now we have young Nqaba doing quite well. So hopefully we can put together the complete package in the final.

“We don’t want to take that game for granted. Anything can happen in T20 cricket. So we will look to take it ball by ball and hopefully things will go our way.”

Titans captain Neil Brand was disappointed with the outcome but admitted that his side can take a lot out of their efforts in the competition as they build towards next season.

“I think we were about 40 or 50 runs short. With the dew coming in this evening we had to take some risks with the bat, but we kept losing wickets in clumps and faced too many dot balls,” said Brand.

“Credit to the way the Lions guys bowled and their spinners. I thought they bowled really well. Rassie and Ricks (Rickelton) then took the sting out of the chase.

“There are definitely positives to take out of the season. We had a very young and inexperienced side, with a lot of the players playing in their first semifinal. So there is an exciting future for us and we can keep on rebuilding.”