Standard Bank Pro20 round-up March 28, 2008

Deacon swings it for Lions

Ken Borland and Cricinfo Staff

Lions 158 for 5 (van Jaarsveld 65*) beat Zimbabwe 90 (Matsikenyeri 32, Deacon 4-15) by 68 runs

The Lions eased to a 68-run victory over Zimbabwe in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at the Wanderers on Thursday. It was the hard-hitting of Vaughn van Jaarsveld and the wonderful new-ball bowling of Cliff Deacon that set up such a comfortable win, the Lions scoring 158 for 5 and then bowling Zimbabwe out for just 90.

Deacon's swing back into the batsmen was a potent tool and Zimbabwe lost their way early on as they crashed from 25 for 1 to 29 for 5 in the space of three overs. Deacon, a left-arm swing bowler, finished with fine figures of 4 for 15 and after his top-order demolition job there was no more hope of Zimbabwe registering their second victory in this year's competition. Stuart Matsikenyeri delayed the rout with 32 off 27 balls, but there was no other resistance from the Zimbabwe batsmen.

It was Van Jaarsveld who provided the Lions innings with a late surge, biffing five sixes in his 65 not out off just 37 balls in a top-class display of power hitting. Justin Ontong had motored to 35 off 27 balls to see the Lions to a solid start. Keith Dabengwa, the left-arm spinner, was the most successful Zimbabwe bowler with 2 for 34 as he bowled both Alviro Petersen (19) and Stephen Cook (22). But he was not the most impressive of their attack: Prosper Utseya conceded just 23 runs in his four overs.

Zimbabwe were sluggish in the field, whereas the Lions had a pair of fielding stars in Deacon and Blake Snijman, who shared five outstanding boundary catches between them. The Zimbabweans will be cursing their poor batting displays in their last two matches after starting the campaign with a victory over the Eastern Cape Warriors in Port Elizabeth.

Titans 188 for 5 (van de Merwe 66, Morkel 38) beat Warriors 157 (Jacobs 33, du Plessis 3-24, van de Merwe 3-41) by 31 runs

An all-round performance by Roelof van der Merwe helped the Titans to a convincing 31-run victory against the Warriors at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. van de Merwe hammered 66 off 30 balls, took 3 for 41 with his left-arm spin to lead his side's domination in the tournament.

Walking in at the end of the first over after the Titans opted to bat first, van de Merwe dominated a stand of 82 with Gulam Bodi, slamming ten fours and two sixes in just over half-an-hour at the crease. After Bodi's dismissal with the score at 98 for 3, Francois du Plessis and Albie Morkel took control and added 43 in 4.3 overs before Wayne Parnell accounted for du Plessis. Morkel and Farhaan Behardien then combined to push the score past 170.

The Warriors top order failed to convert their starts as Morkel and Ethy Mbhalati took early wickets to reduce them to 49 for 4. du Plessis, the legspinner, claimed two wickets in as many balls in his first over to sinks the opposition further. Davey Jacobs top scored with 33 off 24 balls before falling to van de Merwe in the 16th over. By then, the score read 118 for 8 and the target proved way out of reach for the lower order. du Plessis finished with 3 24, the best figures of the match.