JOHANNESBURG: Opener Michael Lumb put up a terrorizing display of hitting as Sydney Sixers overwhelmed Highveld Lions by 10 wickets to lift the Champions League Twenty20 trophy at the New Wanderers Stadium here, on Sunday.
The Aussie franchise restricted the home team to 121 after electing to bowl and then shot down the target with 45 balls to spare, as Lumb (82*, 42b) and skipper Brad Haddin (37*, 33b) made the most of dropped catches.
Lumb was named Man of the Match and also received the Golden Bat for being the highest run scorer. Left arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc was named Man of the Series, for being the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 scalps.
For a brief phase it seemed that Highveld Lions would make a match of it. After being 9 for 4 they had scraped together a score that touched the foot of competitiveness, put their faith in their two left-arm strike bowlers - Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir - who had given away just 10 runs in their first four overs.
Dropped the cup
On Sunday night, the required rate was just about inching above the 6.5 mark when it happened. Michael Lumb, then on 17, shimmied down the track to chip left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso to mid-off, where the ball shot through Gulam Bodi's hands and went for four. A drop and a boundary is all it took for Lumb to go berserk. In the 21 deliveries he faced after the reprieve, the southpaw blasted 65 runs, including five sixes.
It didn't even matter that Haddin was dropped by Pretorious at deep square leg in the next over, for Lumb's effort made redundant all other events and factors. Haddin, who was playing with a broken bone in the left hand, provided good support to his aggressive opening partner. Consecutive sixes by Lumb followed by a boundary reeled in the victory in the 13th over.
The win was worth $2.5 million dollars for the Sixers, which became the second team after NSW Blues to win the CLT20. Earlier, Lions recovered relatively from being four down for 9 to post 121 all out in 20 overs. The pitch was being touted as one full of runs, and when Brad Haddin chose to bowl, a smile would have creased across faces in the home team.
They had very little to smile three overs into the innings. Sixers eschewed their pace attack and chose to open the bowling with twin spin - through offie Nathan McCullum and left-armer Steve O' Keefe - taking Lions by surprise.
Although Jean Symes stuck around to total a career best 51, Lions' score was strictly in gettable territory, as was proved once Lumb and Haddin got into their chasing groove later. Gulam Bodi, the tournament's leading run scorer, struck a six over long-on off McCullum's first over of the match, but top-edged the next ball to deep square leg.
Much was expected on the big night of the young Quinton de Kock, but both he and Neil McKenzie perished to wild top edges off Josh Hazlewood. When O'Keefe got rid of skipper Alviro Petersen - the delivery turning away sharply to take the edge - Lions could scarcely have hoped to cross a hundred runs.
Symes' half-century ensured his team had something to bowl at. Once the promoted Sohail Tanvir exited - trapped in front by McCullum - to leave the side tottering on 32 for 5, Symes headed two parnerships that provided the bulk of the score.
He added 41 with Thami Tsolekile (20), who became McCullum's third victim, and 38 with Dwaine Pretorious, who struck two sixes in a quick 21 before succumbing to Ben Rohrer's direct hit from point.
Symes kept up the scoring and Pretorious carted Josh Hazlewood for six when the fast bowler returned in the 17th over. But the Lions, who were finally looking good for a 140-plus score, collapsed yet again.
Pretorious' run out was followed by Symes top-edging to Haddin behind the stumps. Phangiso and Chris Morris followed suit, as Lions folded for 121 after being 111 for 6. McCullum finished with 3 for 24 off his four, while O'Keefe conceded just 11 in his full quota, also picking up a wicket. Fast bowler Hazlewood too boasted figures of 3 for 22.