Perseverance Pays Off For Bodi As Lions Win

Perseverance Pays Off For Bodi As Lions Win
Perseverance Pays Off For Bodi As Lions Win
©REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Lions 159-4 (Bodi 64, Symes 39no) beat
Chennai Super Kings 158-6 by 6 wickets
CLT20, Group B Match, Cape Town

Highveld Lions made it two wins from two and now look likely to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League T20 after condemning Chennai Super Kings to a six-wicket defeat following a clinical all-round display in Cape Town.

Aaron Phangiso was the star with the ball, taking two for 17 to peg Chennai back after a good start, while Gulam Bodi overcame early problems to make 64, and Jean Symes saw them home alongside Chris Morris.

Faf du Plessis and Murali Vijay had seen Chennai reach 44 for one after the first powerplay as they added 42 in 34 balls for the first-wicket, but the fall of du Plessis for 25 off 20 balls, and the introduction of Phangiso brought about a change in tempo. Suresh Raina made 20 before bashing a Zander de Bruyn length delivery to Lions skipper Alviro Petersen at long-off, while Vijay perished for 22 off 25 balls in the following over, leg before to Phangiso.

This made it 70 for three in the 11th over and Chennai were in danger of squandering their positive start. Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni saw off those fears, though, with a positive fourth-wicket stand of 32 from 25 balls.

Then disaster struck again in the form of another double-strike. Jadeja holed out off Phangiso, while new batsman Albie Morkel snicked his third ball to Thami Tsolekile.

Dhoni was again left to rebuild his side’s innings from 106 for five and found a willing accomplice in the form of Subramaniam Badrinath, who began slowly, before picking up the pace to end with a breezy 27 not out off 14 balls. Together they added exactly 50 in 26 balls prior to Dhoni’s last-over dismissal as Chennai hauled themselves up to 158 for six.

This looked like being more than enough for the first few overs of the Lions run chase as Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus made life almost impossible for their top-order. Bollinger removed Alviro Petersen with a full swinging delivery first ball, while Quinton de Kock played one elegant leg-flick before edging another full Bollinger delivery to Dhoni.

At the other end, Bodi was swinging at everything and connecting with very few, just as he had done in the first match, and for a while it appeared that Yorkshire’s abject effort from earlier in the day may not be the day’s lowest score after all.

However, the calm head of Neil McKenzie brought some sanity to the situation and allowed Bodi to find his feet, not to mention his brain. McKenzie rotated the strike and took the odd risk, while Bodi eventually found the middle of his bat in the ninth over, bowled by Albie Morkel, and looked a completely different player thereafter.

While still not exactly elegance personified - he showed a clear favouritism for the leg-side - his knock of 64 off 46 balls would be the defining innings in the Lions' run chase, and showcased the merits to any batsmen watching of perseverance even when things seem impossible. The first six was a club over mid-wicket, and the next was a direct result of a Morkel free hit. He would go on to hit two more and dominated the third-wicket stand of 93 that he added with McKenzie.

His removal, coupled with McKenzie’s three overs later to an excellent catch by Suresh Raina gave Chennai hope, but they were badly hampered in their efforts by the decision to play two spin bowlers in what were not exactly spin-friendly conditions. The new pairing of Jean Symes and Chris Morris capitalised on this and, from a position of difficulty - Lions needed 44 off 22 balls when the two came together - eased their side home with three balls to spare. Both men swung at everything and undoubtedly had some luck, but Symes finished the match in fine style with consecutive boundaries to end on 39 not out from 23 balls, while Morris contributed 12 off seven.

Lions play group leaders Sydney Sixers in their next match on Thursday. Meanwhile, Chennai Super Kings next play on Saturday against IPL rivals Mumbai Indians in what is now a must-win game.

© Cricket World 2012

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