Lions have been topped the NPL T20 Blast champions after they held their cool on the dying to clinch an exhilarating closing towards Westside at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
It was certainly a cracker of a sport as Kudakwashe Macheka defended eight runs off the final over, which included two run-outs, to offer the academy aspect a three-run win.
Chasing 171 for victory, Westside had been crusing alongside at 155 for 4 till Lions struck twice within the 18th over, bowled by Nkosilathi Nungu, to grab the initiative.
First, Tinashe Muchawaya, gifted a life the earlier ball, holed out a catch to Bright Phiri at third man after hitting 19 from 13 balls, after which a throw by Brad Evans from deep mid-wicket noticed opening batter Clive Chitumba run out whereas making an attempt a second run.
He had scored a superb 68 off 47 balls, with seven fours, and his dismissal left Westside needing 13 runs off the final two overs to assert the silverware.
Evans took the penultimate over which he bowled brilliantly, freely giving solely 5 runs and within the course of having Victor Nyauchi caught on the wicket for a golden duck.
John Masara and Prosper Mugeri had been now charged with the duty of constructing eight runs in six balls, with each groups and the spectators on the tenterhooks.
First ball, Johnathan Campbell flung it from long-on for the wicketkeeper, Clive Madande, to finish a run-out that despatched Masara packing for 3 off three.
The subsequent man in, Vincent Masekesa, stole a single earlier than good work within the subject resulted in one other run-out, Mugeri departing for one to depart his aspect requiring 5 runs off the final three balls.
A dot ball adopted, Tendai Chatara obtained a single, no run got here off the ultimate supply and wild celebrations erupted as Lions accomplished an ideal marketing campaign by which they’ve received all their NPL T20 Blast matches!
Earlier, Lions, batting first on successful the toss, suffered an early setback after their big-hitting veteran opener Cephas Zhuwao was despatched again to the pavilion for one, caught behind off Chatara’s first ball of the match to make the rating three for one within the second over.
Aliakbar Hamid and Bright Phiri then placed on 31 for the second wicket earlier than Donald Tiripano separated them within the sixth over, as Phiri – who made 10 off 17 balls – skyed a catch to backward sq. leg.
After blasting 33 off 23 balls, with one six and 5 fours, Hamid’s high-quality innings got here to an finish and Lions had been now right down to 57 for 3 within the ninth over.
Madande and Campbell then mustered a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket, with Madende being the extra aggressive as he smote a six and three fours earlier than the pair was parted off the primary ball of the sixteenth over.
Campbell was nevertheless the primary to depart, caught at additional cowl off Tiripano, having confronted 18 balls for his 21, which included two fours.
Madande adopted him again to the dugout within the seventeenth over after holing out to huge long-off, however his good knock of 46 off 34 balls, with a six and 4 fours, had catapulted Lions to 132 for 5 with 21 deliveries to go.
Chatara got here again into the assault to bowl the penultimate over and instantly trapped Evans (10) lbw earlier than he obtained Tashinga Musekiwa (9) caught at backward level – 148 for seven.
Nungu then produced a superb cameo within the final over, whacking Muchawaya for a 4 previous long-off earlier than carting the following supply over the boundary on his solution to 17 not out off simply eight balls, as Lions completed their innings strongly at 170 for seven.
Chatara was the standout bowler with three wickets for 10 runs off his three overs, whereas Tiripano picked two for 28 off his 4 overs.
In reply, Westside had the worst doable begin after Tarisai Musakanda fell for a golden duck off the second ball of the primary over, bowled by Evans.
Kevin Kasuza got here in to hitch Chitumba and collectively they added 46 for the second wicket earlier than, within the sixth over, Macheka had Kasuza caught at mid-off for 37, scored off 28 balls and together with seven fours.
By the thirteenth over, they had been right down to 99 for 4 following the dismissals of Sauramba (4) and Tiripano (12).
Chitumba was nevertheless nonetheless there and blasted 68 from 47 balls to arrange a platform from which the supporting forged merely needed to maintain their nerve to go previous the end line.
Unfortunately for the Mutare-based workforce, they failed to take action as Lions fought again to clinch the silverware in a nail-biting end.
Westside – 167-9 in 20 overs (Clive Chitumba 68, Kevin Kasuza 37, Tinashe Muchawaya 19; Brad Evans 2/20, Kudakwashe Macheka 2/31, Marshal Takodza 1/15)
Lions received by three runs