Michael Lumb struck an unbeaten 82 as Sydney Sixers overwhelmed the Highveld Lions by 10 wickets with 45 balls to spare on Sunday in the Champions League Twenty20 final at the Wanderers.
South Africa-born Lumb and Brad Haddin (38 not out) were deceptively cautious for a few overs, before giving an exhibition of 20-over batting at its best to reach 124-0 in 12.3 overs, after the Lions made a paltry 121 off 20 overs.
Lumb enjoyed a moment of luck — dropped by Gulam Bodi at the boundary when on 17 — but made the most of it to slam eight fours and five sixes and win the golden bat award for highest scorer in the tournament.
The over after Lumb was dropped, skipper Haddin has his lucky escape at the boundary with the fielding culprit this time being Dwaine Pretorius, and from then on it was a question of how quickly the Sixers would wrap up the victory.
Fittingly, it was a four from Lumb that brought the rout to an end, leaving the Sydney franchise US$2.5 million richer, while Lions skipper Alviro Petersen collected a US$1.3 million check.
Lions slumped to 9-4 as the Sixers surprisingly started with spinners rather than pace men and had middle-order batsman Jean Symes (51) to thank for reaching 121 before a sell-out 25,000 crowd.
Haddin, whose 43-Test career was likely to come to a halt yesterday, with Matthew Wade expected to be named wicketkeeper for home series next month against South Africa, said using spinners up front was a gamble that paid off.
“Twenty20 cricket is all about going with your gut feel and it worked this time,” he said in tribute to New Zealander Nathan McCullum (3-24) and Steve O’Keefe (1-11). “I captain a great group of guys, who proved today that they are a pretty good cricket team. Everyone contributed to this success and our preparations for the final were spot on.”
Petersen could not pinpoint what went wrong with a team that did so well when defending a low total in Durban on Thursday to win a semi-final against the Delhi Daredevils by 22 runs.
“I cannot put my finger on it — perhaps nerves played a part — but let us give credit to Sixers because they outplayed us in all departments,” he said. “This tournament was a great experience for us.”