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A four-match winning streak by Highveld Lions in the South African Twenty20 Challenge ended Saturday when they fell by four runs against Knights at the Wanderers.
The visitors from Bloemfontein made 125-9 off 20 overs and by restricting the Johannesburg outfit to 121-8, halted a run that took the table toppers seven points clear.
While the Lions retain that healthy lead, there are just two points between second-place Titans and fifth-place Warriors. The team finishing first qualifies for the final and those coming second and third play-off for the other place.
Warriors overcame the struggling Dolphins, reaching 138-1 in East London thanks largely to Ashwell Prince (70 not out) and winning by nine wickets after Dolphins made 136-4 with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (58 not out) the main run-getter.
Rilee Rossouw top scored for Knights with a 33 that included five fours while South Africa discard Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso and Hardus Viljoen captured two wickets each.
Lions lost openers Quinton de Kock (9) and Gulam Bodi (2) cheaply and the departures of Alviro Petersen (29) and Neil McKenzie (17) left middle-order Jean Symes carrying a heavy burden.
Symes struck three fours and two sixes in a brisk 46, but was dismissed during a final in which the Lions needed 14 runs for victory, but managed only nine.