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Hamza century lights up thrilling opening win over Lions

Zubayr Hamza scored his maiden century in the format as Six Gun Grill Western Province edged out the Imperial Lions by two runs in a crackerjack opening fixture of the CSA Provincial T20 Knock Out at The Oval, Kimberley today.

It was the best possible start to the competition that anybody could have hoped for with almost 400 runs being scored in the 40 overs bowled. It was also a fitting way to re-ignite the rivalry between Western Province and the Lions at the highest level of South African domestic cricket.

What is also very clear is that the par score at this venue which will host two of the four pools as well as the knock-out matches will be a lot closer to 200 than to 150.

Although Hamza’s brilliant century (106 off 63 balls, 10 fours and 6 sixes) set up the victory there were also key performances by their bowlers with Wayne Parnell (29 runs conceded in his 4 overs) bowling a superb final over to defend the 12 runs the Lions needed for victory. Beuran Hendricks (1/35 in 4) and Mihlali Mpongwana (2/27 in 2) also played important roles.

If Hamza played the innings of the day to win the batting prize, Ryan Rickelton was not far behind for the Lions (53 off 31 balls, 3 fours and 4 sixes) and laid the foundation for his side to be ahead of the comparative scoring rate for most of their innings. Shane Dadswell, who once made 490 in a club match, weighed in with 32 (14 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) to take the Lions so close to the finishing line.

Both Hamza and Rickelton showed outstanding form in the South Africa A mid-year tour to Zimbabwe and both are consolidating their bids for a return to the international arena.

In spite of ending up on the losing side Malusi Siboto was a deserving recipient of the bowling award with the outstanding figures in the context of the match (4/30 in 4 overs).

Our next match in Pool A is against Six Gun Grill SWD on Saturday morning at 10h00.