All-round Lions crush listless Guyana
Lions 149 for 1 (Cameron 78*, Petersen 57*) beat Guyana 148 for 9 (Jacobs 34, O'Reilly 4-27) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Lions brushed aside an uninspired Guyana in front of a healthy Johannesburg home crowd to boost their chances of making the semi-finals. After Guyana's batsmen showed a lack of nous, and put up an inadequate total, Richard Cameron and Alviro Petersen blunted their attack to pilot the Lions to victory with nearly five overs to spare. Guyana never looked like repeating the heart-warming run of Trinidad & Tobago, who powered their way to the final of the Champions League last year, and their slim chances of reaching the final four ended with this crushing defeat.
Guyana's batsman looked to thrash almost every delivery, and mistimed plenty of strokes, but never attempted to dab the ball around to rotate the strike when things weren't going their way. A late flourish lifted them from the depths of 88 for 6 to the relative respectability of 148, which still proved too trifling a target.
The express pace of Craig Alexander and the sideways movement extracted by some of the Lions other quick bowlers proved too much for Guyana. The trouble started in the very first delivery of the match when Travis Dowlin escaped an extremely close lbw call. His short stay foreshadowed the Guyana effort: filled with thrashes and flails for little reward, and one panicky piece of running before he fell in the second over.
Ramnaresh Sarwan is the most important batsmen in the Guyana line-up and he came out firing, cracking four boundaries in five deliveries to kickstart the innings. However, his performance was cut short in the fifth over by a spectacular diving catch by John Symes, at backward point, off Craig Alexander's first delivery. In the next over, their other experienced batsman, opener Sewnarine Chattergoon who had faced only three deliveries in the Powerplays, holed out to mid-on.
From 42 for 3, debutant Steven Jacobs stepped up to push Guyana forward. He was often beaten by the movement, and his timing was mostly awry, but he slipped in some flamboyant boundaries to take Guyana to 77 after 11 overs.
Lions were well on top soon after due to some muddled running that led to the run outs of Christopher Barnwell and Esuan Crandon. Jacobs also perished, one of his mistimed strokes finally carrying to long-off. Ethan O'Reilly bowled a pinpoint yorker and a low full toss to take out middle stump twice in the 17th over to end with career-best figures of 4 for 27 and put Guyana in further trouble.
Guyana somehow managed to push their total close to 150, thanks to some free-swinging from Lennox Cush who finished on 19 off 10 including a massive six over long-off.
The chase began brightly with both Petersen and Johnathan Vandiar picking a boundary each. Lions' only moment of bother was when Vandiar nicked Esuan Crandon behind in the third over, bringing together Cameron and Petersen who bludgeoned the weak Guyana bowling to bring up Lions' second win in three games.
Petersen sparked the innings to life after a quiet spell following Vandiar's exit by thumping Esuan Crandon over long-on for a 102-metre six and then cracking him past point for four. It was mayhem after that - only two of the remaining overs of the chase went for less than 11 runs as Cameron went into overdrive. Helped by a gift-wrapped bunch of short deliveries from the Guyana spinners, Cameron soon overtook his captain with a series of pulls and carves.
Petersen was content to let Cameron take most of the strike, and quietly moved to his second consecutive half-century. Cameron more than doubled this previous career-best of 36 before the victory was completed in the 16th over, keeping Lions firmly in the mix for a semi-final spot.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo