It was a weekend of heartbreak for the DP World Lions women’s team as they suffered highly unfortunate losses in both their one-day and T20 matches against the Fidelity Titans at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria.
Our Lions could certainly blame the weather for their six-run defeat on the DLS method in the one-day derby fixture. Excellent bowling restricted the Titans to 187 for seven in their 50 overs, saw the Pride well-placed for a successful chase when the umpires took the players off the field due to lightning when the DP World Lions were on 72 for three in the 23rd over.
Even though there was precious little rain that fell, waiting for the storm to pass and the danger of lightning to abate proved a futile affair and the match was called off.
Opener Palesa Mapoo had scored 19 runs and had provided a solid platform for the innings, when she fell to a freakish catch at wide mid-on shortly before play was stopped, causing a dramatic swing in the DLS calculations that proved highly beneficial for the Titans.
Madison Landsman was well-set and looked in fine touch as she had scored 23 not out off 35 balls at the other end.
The DP World Lions had earlier won the toss and elected to field first, and new-ball bowlers Lehlohonolo Meso and Samantha Schutte, even though neither took a wicket, made life extremely difficult for the Titans top-order with some brilliantly controlled bowling and testing swing.
The pressure created made it seem just a matter of time before a run out came, and the brilliant fielding of Sunette Viljoen-Louw duly delivered, before left-armer Relebogile Mkhize captured two wickets, including the prized scalp of Proteas star Sune Luus, trapped lbw for 18 by an inswinger.
While spinner Sarah Nettleton controlled the middle overs with one for 28 in 10 overs, the shrewd Lions leadership turned to Viljoen-Louw and Landsman for the death overs, which proved a masterstroke for the visitors.
Viljoen-Louw, hitting the slowish pitch hard, took two wickets in an over, and Landsman took one for 20 in four overs as the Titans could only post a moderate total.
In the T20 match the following day, Proteas star Masabata Klaas will probably want to hire the scriptwriter for the match on a full-time basis as she scored a boundary off the last ball of the match to claim victory, having earlier taken two for 19 with the ball.
Before that shock ending, it had been a game the DP World Lions had dominated.
Sent in to bat, superb innings by Viljoen-Louw (62 off 54 balls) and Raisibe Ntozakhe (46 not out off 39 deliveries) lifted the Lions to 132 for five in their 20 overs.
The DP World Lions attack, led by Nettleton’s excellent two for 24 in four overs, kept chipping away and no batter was able to make it to 40.
The ice-cool Schutte had seven runs to defend in the final over and she was ruthless in conceding just three singles off her first five deliveries. The Lions, having dropped a catch off the first ball of the over, then suffered the agony of a misfield on the extra cover boundary as victory was snatched from them in the cruellest fashion.