T20 Challenge: Magala bags 5 in Lions’ win; Linde stars for Cobras (Ld)

A career-best five-wicket haul by Sisanda Magala paved the way for the Imperial Lions to climb top of the Betway T20 Challenge table with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over the VKB Knights here on Tuesday.

The right-arm seamer grabbed five for 20 at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium as Wandile Gwavu’s charges ruthlessly dismissed their opponents for just 106, before Reeza Hendricks (47) and Temba Bavuma (53 not out off 47 balls, 3x4s, 1×6) did the bulk of the scoring to help reach the target with 11 deliveries to spare.

It was the third successive win for the Lions and one that vaulted them to the top of the table with a maximum of 12 points, the same number as the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.

Defeat for the Knights all but ends their interest in the competition. They will need to win their final match against the Dafabets Warriors on Thursday and hope several other results go in their favour to have any chance of reaching the play-offs.

In the earlier match of Tuesday, George Linde delivered one of the best performances of the T20 Challenge so far to just about keep the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras alive with a 24-run victory over the Dafabet Warriors at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium.

The Proteas all-rounder first plundered an unbeaten 48 off just 20 balls (6 fours, 2 sixes) to help his team amass an excellent 181 for five – the highest score of the 2020/21 tournament thus far – with Zubayr Hamza continuing his return to form with 57 off 45 balls (6 fours).

Linde then claimed a fine four for 25 in four overs as the opposition were restricted to 157 all out in 19.2 overs.

Despite sealing a first win, the Cobras are bound to be disappointed after failing to claim a bonus point that would have improved their dwindling play-off prospects.

For that to happen they needed to bowl out the Warriors for 144 or less and they should have done it too after reducing them to 75 for seven in the chase.

Slow left-armer Linde was at the heart of that early onslaught by the Cobras’ bowlers, removing Jon-Jon Smuts (20), Wihan Lubbe (7), Ayabulela Gqamane (2) and Sinethemba Qeshile (13), while Imraan Manack (2/23) also landed two early blows that saw the Eastern Cape outfit collapse in a heap.

Their poor start meant they only had three wickets standing after 10.1 overs, before fast bowlers Marco Jansen (47) and Anrich Nortje (25) added some respectability to the scoreline with a franchise record 67-run eighth-wicket partnership.

Their performance was key to denying the Cobras the bonus point, although they at least secured a first win of the campaign against their winless opponents.