Shane Watson’s dream run in shortest format continued as the all-rounder smashed a quickfire 47 after claiming two wickets as Sydney Sixers beat Highveld Lions by five wickets to enter the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 here on Thursday.
Chasing 138 to win, Sydney Sixers overcame the challenge of impressive spinner Aaron Phangiso (3/14) to reach 141 for five in 19 overs at Newlands.
Electing to bowl, Sydney did well to stop Highveld Lions to a modest 137 for nine in the Group B match as Mitchell Starc took three wickets for just 19 runs.
Opener Gulam Bodi top scored for Lions with a 44-ball-61 while Jean Symes contributed 23 off 16 balls.
Except for Dominic Thornely (0) all top-order batsmen contributed in Sydney’s win with skipper Brad Haddin scoring 32 after Watson laid the platform for the win.
Watson’s 47 came off 38 balls with seven boundaries including three sixes. He strapping all-rounder will not be play for the side for the remainder of the tournament as he has been withdrawn by Cricket Australia, fearing burn-out.
Both the sides had two wins each before coming into this contest and with three wins in as many matches has ensured Sydney a place in the last-four stage of the tournament.
Lions, the local outfit, still have a match against qualifiers Yorkshire at their disposal on Saturday to claim the other semifinal berth from Group B.
Watson and Michael Lumb (22) gave Sydney a good start by putting on 60 for the first wicket after a slow start.
Sydney had scored just 26 runs from five overs but Watson and Lumb hammered Chris Chris Morris for 19 runs to push the accelerator button on. Watson reeled off two fours and a six in that over while Lumb struck one four.
But Phangiso brought his side back in the match by removing Lumb and Dominic Thornely in successive balls in the ninth over.
The left-arm spinner bowled Lumb, who missed the line when charged to the bowler, and had Thornely stumped.
Phangiso could have got Haddin too had he not dropped the rival skipper in his follow through but he got the prized wicket of Watson, whose top edge was taken safely by wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile.
Haddin and Steve Smith (25 not out) carried forward the side with a 42—run partnership for the fourth wicket after Watson’ fall.
Earlier, Lions had made a solid start but lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to put up enough runs on the board.