Electrifying! That’s how the encounter between Otago Volts and Highveld Lions turned out to be at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday. This Group A match saw it all – a first Super Over in this edition’s Champions League T20, maiden hundred by a Lions player, fortunes changing at the drop of a hat and some nail-biting moments for the spectators and players alike.
In the end, however, it was Volts who held their nerve and overcame some fluctuating performances to emerge victorious, add four more points to their kitty and extend their winning streak to 15 matches in T20. It was curtains for Lions as they failed to grab on to this final opportunity and ended the tournament without a single win under their belt.
James Neesham’s charge of 52 off 25 balls proved out to be the turning point for the New Zealand side as the match ended in a tie. Neesham shouldered responsibility once again in the Super Over, first helping Volts post 13 and then restricting the opponents to the same score. Volts won by virtue of more boundaries scored in their 20-over innings.
However, it was heartbreak for one man, rather boy, for despite scoring a century, Quinton de Kock couldn’t add the finishing touches. His knock reminded one of RL Stevenson’s famous novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The difference being the evil personality was replaced by an aggressive one. The baby-faced South African turned out to be a master of deception as he blazed his way to an unbeaten 109. The 20-year-old, thereby, became the first Lions player and fifth overall to score a century in the CLT20, after Andrew Puttick, David Warner (twice), Daniel Harris and Neil Broom.
Cover drives, pull shots, straight drives – his innings had as much variety as the number of spices in an Indian curry. After a slow start, scoring only 59 in the first 10 overs, De Kock changed gears and scored the lion’s share for his team. In the 16th over, he hit Nick Beard – till then the most economical bowler for the Volts – for 20 runs which included two sixes and a boundary.
But his innings went in vain as Lions bowlers lost the plot. Sohail Tanvir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Imran Tahir all failed to keep the opponents at bay with wayward bowling in the last few overs.
SCOREBOARD: Highveld Lions: V de Dussen lbw McMillan 17, Q de Kock not out 109, T Bavuma st Brooder b Beard 13, A Petersen lbw Beard 0,
J Symes c Brooder b Wegner 20, D Pretorius not out 2. Extras (lb 2, w 2, nb 2) 6. Total (for 4 wkts in 20 overs) 167.
Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2- 73, 3- 73, 4-149.
Bowling: Butler 3-0-27-0, McMillan 4-0-23-1, Wagner
3-0-25-1, Neeshan 3-0-28-0, N McCullum 4-0-31-0, Beard
Otago Volts: N Broom c Viljoen b Reilly 6, H Rutherford c de Kock b Tahir 32, B McCullum c Tanvir b Tsotsobe 5, D de Boorder c Bauvama b Tahir 32, R ten Doeschate c Petersen b Tsotsobe 9, J Neesham not out 52, N McCullum c Petersen b Viljoen 0, I Butler b Tanvir 9, N Wegner not out 5. Extras (b 1, lb 10, w 4, nb 2) 17. Total (for 7 wkts in 20 overs) 167.
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-27, 3-78, 4-97, 5-101, 6-103, 7-136.
Bowling: Tanvir 4-0-35-1, Reilly 4-0-40-1, Tsotsobe 4-0-30-2, Voljoen 4-0-23-1, Tahir 4-0-28-2.