Match Tied (Royal Challengers Bangalore win one-over eliminator)
Temba Bavuma has reignited the debate surrounding his removal from South Africa's Test playing XI after racking up a career-best first-class score of 180 for his franchise team.
The middle-order batsman was released from the Proteas squad ahead of the second match against England and was asked to recover his form in domestic cricket.
Having joined the Lions for South Africa's domestic four-day competition, Bavuma set up a batting masterclass during the second innings of the clash against the Dolphins.
The 29-year-old offered dogged resistance with the bat and was the last man to be dismissed for his team in pursuit of the improbable 430-run target.
Bavuma scored 180 in his side's total of 299, singlehandedly leading the Lions' fightback that eventually proved to fall quite short of the target.
"From a personal point of view it is awesome to contribute to the team," he said following his stellar knock.
"I have been trying to rack up those big scores. Today was that opportunity and I was able to grab it with both hands."
Bavuma's much-needed return to fluency comes at a time when his absence from the national set-up has been widely criticised by advocates of racial transformation.
Bavuma, the only black African specialist batsman to make the cut for South Africa in Test cricket, was dropped to allow Rassie van der Dussen a proper run in the team since the latter conjured a half-century on debut.
The Proteas playing XI in the last two matches, hence, featured only four players of colour - two players less than the racial quota - with Kagiso Rabada as the only black African as opposed to the requirement of two black cricketers.
More importantly, Bavuma was recently touted as a future skipper by South Africa’s assistant coach Enoch Nkwe and this incredible innings presses the claim for such a possible arrangement.
Despite a mediocre average reading a sorry figure of below 20 for the calendar year of 2019, Bavuma remains a member of the hosts' Test squad for the final game against England.
He could thus stage a comeback in the match scheduled to commence on January 24 in his hometown Johannesburg.