Red hot Redbacks down the Lions

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Shaun Tait and Daniel Christian of the South Australian Redbacks brought the Highveld Lions crashing back to earth on Sunday when they spearheaded their side to victory by 11 runs in their Airtel Champions’ League match at Centurion.

The Lions won the toss and put the Redbacks in to bat. The Redbacks got off to a relatively slow start, and by the halfway mark were only 65 for two. But a superb partnership of 97 off 58 balls between captain Michael Klinger and Callum Ferguson saw the run rate improving steadily, and, although they both went out in the late overs, Klinger for 78 off 48 balls and Ferguson for 47 off 27, the damage had been done.

The Redbacks put on 60 runs in the last five overs to finish on an impressive 178 for six.

The Lions, who caused an upset when they beat glamour side the Mumbai Indians at the Wanderers in the opening match on Friday, started their innings at a cracking pace, but lost wickets at regular interval. Tait started the rot when he bowled Friday’s man of the match and top scorer, Jonathan Vandiar, for four in the first over. Tait finished with figures of three for 38.

Although there were jokes made about Daniel Christian being in the Lions’ den, it was the Lions rather than Christian who were the butt of the jokes, as Christian first dismissed Vaughn van Jaarsveld in the fifth over, and then got rid of Lions’ captain Alviro Petersen in the 13th. The dismissal of Petersen was a crucial blow, as he and Neil McKenzie looked at one stage as if they would take the Lions safely home.

But first McKenzie was run out for 15 by some brilliant teamwork between Gary Putland and wicketkeeper Graham Manou, and two overs later, Petersen was leg before wicket to Christian for 56.

With McKenzie and Petersen gone, it was all over bar the shouting, although the Lions fought right to the last over, finishing on 167 for eight.

The Redbacks play the Mumbai Indians at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday, while the Lions’ next match is against Guyana at the Wanderers at 1.30pm next Sunday.

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