Lions make winning start after Hendricks ton

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 19: Reeza Hendricks of the Lions goes to his 50 runs during the Momentum One Day Cup match between bizhub Highveld Lions and Warriors Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on February 19, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 19: Reeza Hendricks of the Lions goes to his 50 runs during the Momentum One Day Cup match between bizhub Highveld Lions and Warriors Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on February 19, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

A seventh career century from Reeza Hendricks proved key as the bizhub Highveld Lions began the defence of their Momentum One-Day Cup title with a contented, 44-run win over the Warriors at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The right-handed opener struck a superb 101 (89 balls, 13 fours) to help his side post a mammoth 329/7 – their highest score ever in the fixture – before the visitors were bowled out for 285 in exactly 50 overs.

Hendricks also struck with the ball by taking 2/17 in three overs, but it was his exploits with the bat that set the champions on their way to a convincing victory.

The Lions lost the toss and were put in to bat at the start, with the openers putting on 178 for the first wicket, which was another fixture record. Stephen Cook made 81 (84 balls, 5 fours) and provided the perfect support for Hendricks, before returns of 2/51 by Sisanda Magala and Jon-Jon Smuts put some restraint on the home side going even bigger.

The Warriors needed a good start if they were to have any chance of winning the game and they got it, despite losing captain Jon-Jon Smuts (15) early. Gihahn Cloete (50 off 77 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) and Colin Ingram (69 off 69 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) put on 122 for the second wicket, before both fell to Hendricks in quick succession.

Still the Warriors fought through Colin Ackermann (46) and at 200/4 in the 37th over, they were still in the contest. Ackermann however, was one of three wickets to fall to Beuran Hendricks, who ended with 3/55, as the Eastern Cape side lost their way and eventually fell to 285 all out.

Carmi le Roux was the other bowler to excel thanks to his 2/29 in nine overs as the Lions made a strong start to the 2017 tournament.