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Bavuma’s maiden T20 century sinks Warriors in tense T20 final

The CSA T20 Challenge final capped off a brilliant season for the Lions who also won the Four Day Series earlier on in the season.

Bizhub Lion's Temba Bavuma. Picture: @Tbavuma10/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Temba Bavuma’s maiden T20 century guided the Bizhub Highveldt Lions to a close 11 run win over the Warriors in the final of the CSA T20 Challenge final at the Wanderers.

Asked to bat first, the Lions through Ryan Rickelton showed their intent on going after a weakened Warriors bowling attack which was missing the injured Lutho Sipamla. The young left-hander smashed 11 off Captain Jon-Jon Smuts’ first over of the afternoon to get this going.

They did, however, encounter a speed wobble when they lost Reeza Hendricks without scoring in the next over who was caught by Smuts at short midwicket off the of Andrew Birch. Rickleton soon followed as he skied a Sisanda Magala delivery and was caught by Sinethemba Qeshile for 19.

That was the last bit of joy the Warriors would taste for a while as the Proteas duo of Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen pummeled runs almost at will. Fresh from their record 112 run unbeaten stand that secured a final spot against the Dolphins in midweek, they smashed the record for the highest third-wicket stand amassing a mammoth 165 runs off 96 balls.

Bavuma was particularly impressive on his way to 104. His masterful innings comprised of 10 two’s, 11 four’s and two sixes in an excellent display of batting. Van der Dussen all the while was brutal on his way to 72 off 43 balls. The Lions eventually closed their innings on 203/4 which was the first time that they had crossed the 200 mark in a T20 match at the Wanderers this season.

The Warriors run chase failed to gather any steam as they quickly slipped to 48/4 inside five overs. Matthew Breetzke, Gihahn Cloete, Marco Marais and Sinethemba Qeshile all failed to get going.

The only shining light for the men from the Eastern Cape was Captain Smuts who bludgeoned his way to a sublime 121 off 60 deliveries with the assistance of Onke Nyaku who together put on a half-century stand to give the visitors a glimmer of hope.

Needing 18 off the last over and a well set Smuts who launched the first Migael Pretorius ball for six, there were nervous faces in the Lions dugout, but Pretorius kept his cool and dismissed Smuts with the next ball to give the Lions an 11-run win.

The CSA T20 Challenge final capped off a brilliant season for the Lions who also won the Four Day Series earlier on in the season.

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