Sydney Sixers 141-5 (Watson 47) beat
Highveld Lions 137-9 (Starc 3-19) by 5 wickets
CLT20, Group B Match, Cape Town
Sydney Sixers became the first team to book their place in semi-final of the Champions League T20 with a comfortable five-wicket win over South Africa’s Highveld Lions in Cape Town.
The Sixers’ pace quartet was again the difference between them and their opponents, with Shane Watson, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc coming to the fore to more than make up for an underwhelming display from the fourth member of that quartet, Pat Cummins, who conceded 38 runs from his four overs.
Lions began brightly after being asked to bat and reached 25 in the third over, before losing their first wicket, that of their captain Alviro Petersen for just five. Petersen’s opening partner Gulam Bodi - now completely back to his best following his horror show in the first one and half matches of the tournament - had got proceedings underway with back-to-back boundaries off Cummins’ first over and a six off Starc’s first, and then dominated a second-wicket stand of 32 with Quinton de Kock, who struggled to four before being caught behind off Watson.
Neil McKenzie came and went for 17 as did Zander de Bruyn for just four, as Lions, having reached 57 for one after seven overs, slipped to 91 for four in the 14th. Bodi, though, was still going strong, again favouring his preferred leg-side, and brought up his 50 off 32 balls. He found support from Jean Symes for a while and the two added 29 in 21 balls before both fell in the same Mitchell Starc over.
Lions could manage just 56 runs from the last 57 balls of their innings as Watson and Starc undid the good work of Bodi and ended on 137 for nine - a total that looked well below par.
Indeed, it proved to be so as Michael Lumb and Shane Watson provided Sydney with a solid opening stand worth 60 in less than nine overs, and Brad Haddin (32 off 21 balls) and Steve Smith (25 not out off 25) took them to the brink of victory with a fourth-wicket one of 42.
Aaron Phangiso gave Lions some brief hope with a three quick wickets in the ninth and 11th overs of the innings, but when he had finished, the rest of their bowlers posed no real threat. Phangiso had bowled Lumb for 22 to begin the mini-collapse of three for 14, and followed that up immediately with the wicket of new batsman Dominic Thornely, smartly stumped off a wide by Thami Tsolekile.
He then had Watson reaching for a sweep shot and top-edging to Tsolekile and ended with his best bowling figures in a T20 match of three for 14 to continue his superb tournament, which has now yielded six wickets at a cost of just eight apiece.
However, his fellow left-arm spinner, Jean Symes, didn’t fare so well. He was stuck for a hat-trick of sixes by Brad Haddin in the 14th over to take the required run rate below six an over and it never again went above that figure as Steve Smith shepherded Sydney home with an entire over to spare.
The Sixers’ next match is against Mumbai Indians on Monday, while Lions play Yorkshire in what is now likely to be a must-win game for them on Saturday.
© Cricket World 2012
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