Batting ace Jean Symes hit the winning runs as he rescued the Highveld Lions to guide them into the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 with a five-wicket victory over Yorkshire on Saturday.
The Lions were vulnerable when they entered the penultimate over needing 20 to win but Symes smashed a huge six followed by a boundary to change the dynamics of the match.
Two consecutive boundaries off Steven Patterson’s first two deliveries of the final over was enough to see the Lions over the line in Johannesburg, finishing on 134 for five after Yorkshire, who are now out of the competition, had made 131 for seven.
Yorkshire started well after being put in to bat with Phil Jaques especially looking good.
Jaques and Andrew Gale set about building a good platform but the latter became the first casualty of the day.
The Yorkshire skipper attempted to launch a powerful shot off Dwaine Pretorius but instead he skied the ball over his own head to be caught by wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile.
Gale had made 21 off 26 deliveries with Yorkshire on 54 and they made just six more when his replacement Joe Root was out for five, caught by Sohail Tanvir at deep backward square off Aaron Phangiso.
After a short weather break, Yorkshire’s run rate dropped and Alviro Petersen claimed the vital wicket of Jaques, the Carnegie player unable to get his length right.
Jaques had made 31 off 29 balls but Yorkshire were wobbling and they will have been hoping for more than 17 off Gary Ballance who became Thangiso’s second victim, a swipe looping to Dirk Nannes to leave Yorkshire on 100 for four.
Adam Lyth (21) top-edged a Chris Morris delivery to Nannes at the boundary, Adil Rashid (eight) was lbw to Sohail Tanvir and Azeem Rafiq (four) was out after skying the last delivery of the game to Phangiso.
The Lions’ response to an apparently straightforward target of 132 was swift but their opening stand was curtailed when Peterson was out for 19, caught behind off Oliver Hannon-Dalby. The wicket of Gulam Bodi was lost four runs later, lbw to Steven Patterson.
Neil McKenzie shared a stand of 38 with Quinton de Kock before being lbw to Azeem Rafiq for 13. De Kock skied a slow delivery for a simple catch for Dan Hodgson off Iain Wardlaw after the batsman made 32 off 35 deliveries, including two fours and two sixes.
At this point the teams were just about exactly matched and just as Yorkshire seemed to be tightening the screw, the Lions hit back.
Pretorius had made 25 when he sliced a Patterson delivery to leave the Lions on 107 for five.
And with two overs left, 20 was still required but then came Symes’ intervention with six needed off the last over.
Symes hit a glancing shot past leg stump for four and then another boundary off Patterson to finish with 27 off 22 deliveries.