CRICKET-T20-LIONS by Adam Wakefield
JOHANNESBURG Oct 14 Sapa
LIONS BEAT INDIANS IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
The Highveld Lions beat the Mumbai Indians by an emphatic eight wickets thanks to a record 121-run partnership between veteran Neil McKenzie and rising star Quinton de Kock in their first Twenty20 Champions League group game at the Wanderers on Sunday.
The Lions, chasing 158, started slowly with captain Alviro Petersen caught excellently for 14 by Ambati Rayudu off Lasith Malinga at the end of the fifth over.
Gulam Bodi responded by hitting Dhawai Kulkarni for successive boundaries after his skipper's dismissal.
Indians captain Harbhajan Singh brought himself on, and immediately removed Bodi from an edge caught by Rohit Sharma for 19.
McKenzie came to the crease and reverse swept Singh for four, with De Kock hitting spinner Pragyan Ojha for six in consecutive overs as the Lions reached 74 for two at the halfway stage.
After Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard replaced Singh and Ojha, De Kock and McKenzie reached their 50 partnership in 37 balls as the Lions' innings gathered momentum.
De Kock and McKenzie kept the runs coming as Lions reached their hundred in the fifteenth over.
The Lions pair continued to roar along with the Indians unable to stop the boundaries, with McKenzie reaching 50 in 33 balls. The hundred partnership followed soon after.
Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga could do nothing to stem the flow as the Lions reached their target of 158 with seven balls to spare, completing a perfect start for the South African sides after the Titans beat the Perth Scorchers in Centurion on Saturday.
McKenzie finished unbeaten on 68 and De Kock on 51.
The day began with Petersen winning the toss and inserting the Indians with conditions fresh at the Bullring.
The Mumbai side started off with Smith sending a Sohail Tanveer delivery rocketing back towards the boundary.
Smith then powered two fours in the same over as he set about going after the Lions' bowling, as Sachin Tendulkar played himself in from the other end.
Morris was stopped the rot by trapping Smith leg before on 26 in the fifth over, with the score on 45.
Tendulkar then got into the game, hitting spinner Aaron Phangiso down the ground for four. Phangiso got his revenge two overs later, as Tendulkar was bowled for 16 off 24 balls in an edgy knock.
The Indians, through Sharma, took the attack to Phangiso and Zander de Bruyn after Tendulkar's dismissal, scoring four boundaries, before Sharma was bowled by Dirk Nannes for 27.
Kieron Pollard came to the crease and immediately hit De Bruyn for two boundaries, before being bowled by Sohail Tanveer for 11.
Dinesh Karthik and Mitchell Johnson, relatively quiet up to that stage after being promoted to four in the order, took whatever scoring opportunities came their way with the momentum see-sawing between the two sides as the Indians sought a defendable total.
Johnson was dismissed for 30, caught by Tsolekile off a skied Tanveer delivery.
Rayudu was run out off the innings' final ball with Nannes, the pick of the bowlers with one for 15 in four overs, doing the honours. The Mumbai Indians finished on 157 for the loss of six wickets.