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RAM SLAM T20 Challenge: Warriors edge Lions in rain induced thriller

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Jon-Jon Smuts starred with bat and ball as the Warriors beat the rain to complete a compelling four-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over the bizhub Highveld Lions and take charge of their RAM SLAM T20 Challenge destiny in Potchefstroom on Friday night.

Knowing that only a win would suffice, the visitors first made 133 for four in 17.1 overs, before returning to defend a revised 97-run 10-over target by restricting the hosts to 92 for seven at Senwes Park. 

Around 90 minutes were lost at one stage due to lightening and rain, threating to wash out the game and with it the Warriors’ prospects.

At that point, they had done well to storm back after struggling initially when Smuts won the toss and opted to bat first.

The captain had not been at his fluent best this season, which has clearly hampered his side, but his 69 not out (52 balls, 10 fours) put them on course for a sizeable total alongside Christiaan Jonker, who had just found his range by reaching 30.

Bjorn Fortuin (2/22) was the chief destroyer for the Lions.

After the rain break, the Lions kept up with the rate thanks to an unbeaten 41 from their star batsman of the season, Reeza Hendricks.

They needed 12 from the final over, but Andrew Birch conceded a meagre seven to end with figures of one for 11, while Smuts’ two overs came at the cost of one for nine. The pick of the lot was Sisanda Magala thanks to his two for 19 as the Warriors pulled of an imperative win.

It leaves them now in fourth and knowing that victory over the WSB Cape Cobras on Sunday will put them through.

The Lions, now in fifth, host the VKB Knights on Sunday when both sides will be relying on a win and results going in their favour to progress.