An unbroken 81-run stand between Omphile Ramela and Rassie van der Dussen helped put the Highveld Lions in a commanding position at the end of day two of their Sunfoil Series encounter against the Cape Cobras in Potchefstroom on Friday.
The pair batted together for 30.1 overs to take the hosts to stumps on 117/2 in reply to 217 made by the visitors on what was effectively day one of the four-day final round clash.
After heavy rain washed out day one at Senwes Park, the toss was only held before play began with the Lions calling correctly and asking the Cobras to bat first.
And it proved a bold decision as their bowlers quickly worked their way through the opposition batting line-up.
Openers Pieter Malan (3) and Andrew Puttick (17) fell cheaply, before top-scorer Zubayr Hamza (57 off 86 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) and Stiaan van Zyl (47) added 84 for the third wicket.
But that was as good as it got for the title-chasing Cape side as they slid from 111/2 to lose their remaining eight wickets for 106.
Bjorn Fortuin was the pick of the bowlers with 3/43, while Nono Pongolo (2/49), Nandre Kruger (2/60) and Dwaine Pretorius (2/56) collected two wickets apiece.
The Lions then lost Stephen Cook (1) and Reeza Hendrick (17) cheaply as Lizaad Williams (2/25) struck twice.
But Ramela hit an unbeaten 58 (109 balls, 11 fours) and Van der Dussen 37 not out to help the Lions close to within 100 by the close. – African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Michael Sherman