Warriors thump Lions to earn Qualifier ticket

Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts

Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts

Jon-Jon Smuts starred with bat and ball as the Warriors booked their ticket to the Momentum One-Day Cup Qualifier thanks to a comfortable 36-run Duckworth/Lewis drubbing of the bizhub Highveld Lions at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

The home captain first took 4/25 as the visitors were shot out for a woeful 154 in 43.2 overs after winning the toss and batting.

Smuts then struck 51 (57 balls, 8 fours) as the men from the Eastern Cape reached 123/4 in 32 overs, before the rain arrived with the hosts well ahead of the run-rate to clinch the result with a bonus point.

It was the perfect reaction from the Warriors after their midweek dismantling by the Multiply Titans and ensured they finished in the top three – sealing a meeting with the VKB Knights in Sunday’s qualifier.

And the bowlers were key in setting up the result, by striking back after a decent start by the Lions.

Rassie van der Dussen (14) and Reeza Hendricks (10) fel cheaply, but top-scorer Mangaliso Mosehle (39) and Dominic Hendricks (37) got their side back on track with a 65-run third wicket stand.

But Smuts and his brother, Kelly, who ran out Mosehle, started a slide that saw the away side lose the next eight wickets for 59.

Wiaan Lubbe made 31, but it was just single figure scores from the rest of the line-up as Colin Ingram (2/12) and Sisanda Magala (2/25) chipped in with two wickets apiece.

The Warriors’ chase was off to a flier thanks to Smuts and Gihahn Cloete (41) who put on 93 for the first wicket. Lubbe then struck thrice to give the Lions brief hope, but the small target meant the home side just needed a decent partnership to get over the line.

But that too was not needed as the rain arrived to give them a deserved win.