The bizhub Highveld Lions kept in touch with the two sides above them on the Momentum One-Day Cup table as they beat the Chevrolet Knights with a bonus point at Chevrolet Park on Sunday.
After Dwaine Pretorius’ four-wicket haul had helped to dismiss the Knights for 205, Stephen Cook hit his seventh List A century to help the Lions achieve their target in 38.2 overs and with eight wickets to spare.
With the Cobras and Dolphins forced to share the points from their washout in Durban, the Lions were able to close in as they moved to within a point of the second-placed Dolphins.
Equally important, the result created a clear gap down the middle of the standings, with the Lions more than a bonus-point win ahead of the bottom three going into the three-month break.
While Pretorius and Cook were the lead actors, the supporting roles were played by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Alviro Petersen.
Tsotsobe ensured that the Lions made the most of winning a good toss, as he dismissed the Knights’ dangerous openers within the first eight overs.
Although Rudi Second led the revival with his 74, at no point did the run rate get away from the Lions.
When the Knights went into the final 10 overs, Second was well set on 67 but some serious damage was required with the hosts’ total on 142 for four.
Instead it was Pretorius (4 for 35) who did the damage as he picked up the wickets of Second and Dillon du Preez with successive deliveries.
Obus Pienaar did his best to lift the Knights total as wickets continued to fall, and he finished unbeaten on 47 as the innings ended in 49.2 overs.
With Cook and Petersen putting on 137 for the first wicket, the result and the bonus point were hardly in doubt.
Although Petersen fell for 52 and Cook for 102, Temba Bavuma (38 not out) and Neil McKenzie finished the job with time to spare.