LIONS Team of the Week: Neil McKenzie takes Lions to Momentum Cup win over Cobras

Here at World Cricket Badger, we are introducing a Team of the Week feature where we look in depth into a state, county or franchise. We will be working our way around the globe. This week we move to South Africa to feature the Highveld Lions, who have just started the 2013/14 summer.

Neil McKenzie will be 38 next month but the veteran batsman proved his value to the Lions yesterday when his 106-ball 73 not out side guided his team to a four-wicket defeat of the Cape Cobras.

The victory at Newlands was the Lions’ first in the Momentum One-Day Cup, a competition they are joint holders of with the Cobras.

Last season’s final was washed out in the early stages of the Cobras’ pursuit of 242.

McKenzie’s patient, well-judged effort could not have come too soon for the Lions yesterday, whose previous three defeats in the 50-over competition included that crushing one-run defeat to the Titans last week.

The win leaves Quinton de Kock’s side in fifth position in the six-team table with four points from four games but their overall situation probably took second place on Sunday to the relief felt at finally securing four points.

Chasing 207 for victory, Lions lost Stephen Cook to Charl Langeveldt in the first over of their innings but de Kock returned to form with 47 and added 48 for the second wicket with Rassie van Dussen. The latter’s dismissal for 15 brought McKenzie to the crease but he soon lost de Kock when the skipper was bowled by Shaheen Khan for 15.

That, however, only allowed Temba Bavuma to join McKenzie and he added 83 runs for the fourth wicket with the Hampshire batsman. The loss of Bavuma, Jean Symes and Chris Morris in the space of seven overs did not derail the Lions as McKenzie remained, resolute and resourceful, to score his 58th List A fifty and complete the win with a six off the second ball of the 50th over.

Earlier in the day Hardus Viljoen’s four wickets had helped the Lions dismiss the Cobras for 206, although it could be argued that left-armer Lonwabo Tsotsobe’s fine spell of 1-26 in his ten-over allocation was just as siginificant in strangling the home side’s attempt to post a formidable score on their home turf of Newlands.981832-16017951-640-360

At one stage the Cobras were 70-5 before before Justin Kemp and Justin Ontong added 44 for the sixth wicket in ten overs. Kemp finished with 67 off 76 balls but his effort was not enough to help his team to a winning total.

The Lions’ next game is against the Knights at Bloemfontein on Friday.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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