Neil McKenzie and the bizhub Highveld Lions bowling attack, spearheaded by Chris Morris, put the visitors in total control against the Nashua Titans on Thursday as the visitors moved confidently to 149 for two at stumps, a first-innings deficit of only 46 runs, at Sahara Willowmoore Park.
McKenzie, on 70 (off 123 balls, with nine fours) and Dominic Hendricks, on 57, will resume on Friday. The Nashua Titans managed only 195 in their first innings.
The Nashua Titans won the toss, elected to bat and seem to be coasting on 138 for four after a 108-run partnership between Henry Davids and David Wiese.
But Morris, Cliffe Deacon and Hardus Viljoen rocked the lower order with the violence of a category five storm and limited the Titans to 195 first-innings runs.
The belligerent Wiese smashed 93 off 106 balls with sixteen fours and a six and attempted to unsettle the bizhub Highveld Lions with his attacking mind-set. Davids scored a brisk 62 off 84 balls, with eleven fours.
Ethy Mbhalati’s double-strike in the fifth over had the bizhub Highveld Lions reeling at 21 for two at tea. But McKenzie and Hendricks blunted the new-ball attack and took complete control in the final session. They shared in an undefeated 135-run partnership for the third wicket.
Mbhalati captured 2-31 in ten overs. Unfortunately, the lanky fast bowler enjoyed little support. The lack of penetration and accuracy alleviated the pressure on McKenzie and Hendricks after tea. They completed their century-partnership in 137 minutes off 184 balls. McKenzie’s half-century came off 81 balls, with seven fours. Hendricks needed 109 balls to reach the same milestone.
Nashua Titans: Henry Davids (capt), Jacques Rudolph, Mangaliso Mosehle, Heino Kuhn, Francois le Clus, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Shaun von Berg, Ethy Mbhalati, CJ de Villiers, Rowan Richards.
bizhub Highveld Lions: Stephen Cook (capt), Dominic Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Thami Tsolekile, Brett Pelser, Cliffe Deacon, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Eddie Leie.