Standard Bank Cup 2004-05 December 17, 2004

Kruger puts Lions in semi-finals

Lions 143 for 2 (Bacher 77*) beat Western Province Boland 142 (Kruger 5-21) by 8 wickets

Garnett Kruger destroyed Western Province Boland as the Lions romped into the semi-finals with an eight-wicket win at Newlands in Cape Town. Both teams came into the game with an outside chance of claiming the last semi-final spot. Province needed to win to stay in the running while the Lions needed to win with a bonus point to nudge the Warriors out of the fourth spot.

The important toss was won by the Lions who put WPBOL in to bat first. A steady start saw the home team reach 70 for 2 after 17 overs. What followed left the Newlands faithful stunned as some poor shot selection sent a steady stream of batsmen back to the change-rooms. In the space of 16 balls Kruger (5-21) destroyed the middle order leaving WPBOL reeling at 76 for 7. A slight revival between Con de Lange (30) and William Hantam (35), putting on 65 for the eighth wicket, helped Province struggle to 142.

The Lions, having to chase 143 in 36 overs to make it into the semi-finals, set off at a good pace with Stephen Cook and Adam Bacher bringing up the 50 in the 11th and the 100 in the 22nd. Cook was first to go for 27 (110-1) but Bacher's rich vain of form continued as he remained unbeaten on 77. He also became the the first batsman to pass the 500-runs mark for this season. HD Ackerman was the only other batsman to fall as the Lions reached the target in 30.2 overs.

In Western Province's defence one has to question the South African board's fixtures committee. For a side to complete four fixtures in eight days, two of them back-to-back and 1,000 miles apart, when some teams have already completed their commitments was surely loading the dice.