The bizhub Highveld Lions met their match in 41-year-old Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner, Pravin Tambe, to slump to a 30-run defeat in their second Group A match at the Champions League T20 competition at Jaipur on Wednesday.
Having had their previous match washed out, the Lions are now under serious pressure to qualify for the knock-out stage.
The Lions, having won the toss and restricted the Rajasthan Royals to 183/5, were well on target for victory at the halfway stage when they were ahead of their opponents even though they had lost an extra wicket.
But everything changed when Tambe entered the attack. He had only taken one wicket for 88 runs in his three previous matches in the Indian Premier League but he was instrumental in the Lions slumping from 89/3 to 120/7 in the three overs he bowled to take four wickets for just 15 runs. This included the key wickets of Lions captain Alviro Petersen and Jean Symes who has always played a key role at the back end of the innings.
There was no way back for the Lions from this situation and they finished on 153/9.
With the three previous innings in today’s double header all having produced more than 180 runs the Lions must have fancied their chances but it was not to be.
The Lions made a good start when they bowled first, taking wickets at regular intervals to have the Royals 110/4 in the 14th over but the home side then took charge thanks to cameo innings from Stuart Binny (38 off 20 balls) and Brad Hodge (46 not out off 23 balls).
Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2/26) and Dwaine Pretorius (2/27) were the most successful Lions bowlers.