The bizhub Highveld Lions came roaring back in the second session of their Sunfoil Series match against the Chevrolet Knights at the De Beers Diamond Oval. Despite conceding 101 runs in the afternoon session, five wickets have given the Lions the advantage at tea. Cliffe Deacon was prominent with two important strikes soon after lunch, but the Lions must still get through the broad bat of Rilee Rossouw, and will be all too aware of the tail-end heroics produced by the Knights lower order already this season. The Knights were on 181 for five at the break.
The Knights resumed on 80 without loss after a slow start to the day. After winning the toss, the scoreboard only came to life in the eighth over as Deacon and Chris Morris were on the mark. Once he got going with a boundary, the inexperienced Gihahn Cloete moved along nicely, and hit ten boundaries in his fifty, which came up off 86 balls. Rudi Second took 25 balls to score his first run, and 79 to reach double figures. They were still together at lunch, Cloete on 54 and Second 24.
Things changed dramatically after lunch, as both were dismissed within the first eight balls of the session without adding to their scores. The Lions bowling suddenly seemed unplayable as first Cloete was bowled by an inswinger from Deacon, and then Second was trapped in front by Hardus Viljoen. Ryan Bailey almost played on to his first delivery and Rilee Rossouw was lucky to survive an edge which just beat wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile. Bailey's reprieve did not last long before he was taken in the slips off Deacon for a single. Three wickets had fallen for seven in the space of six overs.
Obus Pienaar joined Rossouw, and they led a recovery, adding 73 in 26 overs. Pienaar dominated the stand, scoring 42 off 51 balls before being caught in the slips off Morris. Patrick Botha could not survive until tea, being bowled by Imran Tahir after having already taken eight runs in the over. At the break, Rossouw was on 44, made off 92 balls, while Werner Coetsee had yet to open his account.
Deacon has again been the pick of the bowlers, taking two for 21 in eleven overs. Morris, Viljoen and Imran Tahir have one each.
The Lions have already achieved two bonus points, but will be looking for the four wickets needed to claim the two remaining points. Before tea they had surrendered their Sunfoil Series lead briefly to the Cape Cobras, who have already dismissed the Titans in Benoni, but nosed ahead again with Botha's wicket.
Bonus points to date: Lions 2, Knights 0