THE bizhub Highveld Lions lost their second successive match at the Champions League T20 on Friday evening to leave their chances of progressing to the semi-final round out of their hands.
The Mumbai Indians beat them by seven wickets which means that they only have two points after three matches. Their final group match is against New Zealand’s Otago Volts on Sunday and, even if they win that, they may still not finish in the top two.
They can no longer catch the log-leading Rajasthan Royals while both the Mumbai Indians and the Otago Volts are currently four points ahead of them.
The Lions, after being sent into bat, posted a target of 141 thanks almost entirely to a 50-run partnership in five overs between captain Alviro Petersen and Dwaine Pretorius. The latter hit three sixes, one of which was the 100th six of the tournament. It was also the biggest hit of the tournament to date, having a carry of 103 metres.
The Lions only chance of success was to make some major strikes up front on a pitch that was well grassed and assisted the seamers and, although they got rid of Sachin Tendulkar cheaply, it was their only success in the power play overs.
Man of the Match Dwayne Smith, who opened with Tendulkar, batted through the innings to finish unbeaten on 63 off 47 balls (four fours and three sixes). His third wicket partnership of 43 in five overs with his captain, Rohit Sharma, settled the issue to all intents and purposes.