Warriors pull off narrow win
The Warriors held their nerve to maintain their second position on the log with a six-run victory over the VKB Knights in their Momentum One-Day Cup clash at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Full scorecard: Warriors v Knights
Chasing 285 for victory, the Knights fell agonisingly short at 278 for eight following a brave run chase. They needed 11 off the final over bowled by Andrew Birch but the Warriors seamer conceded only four runs to pull off a tense victory for the home team.
Knights captain Pite van Biljon made a mature 84 before Aubrey Swanepoel finished unbeaten on 76 off only 77 balls.
The Knights were quickly in trouble at 48 for four when their trump card, David Miller, got out.
But Van Biljon hung in there with middle order players Luthando Mnyanda (43) and then Swanepoel to almost see their team pull off an unlikely win.
Van Biljon’s partnership for the fifth wicket with Mnyanda realised 80 runs and then the same amount of runs accrued in the sixth wicket stand with Swanepoel.
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Earlier, Jon-Jon Smuts scored a second consecutive hundred as the Warriors posted 284 for eight wickets.
Skipper Smuts was once again in sublime form in making a well-struck 132 to follow up on the unbeaten 173 he scored against the BuildNat Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Sunday.
His 151-run partnership for the third wicket with Colin Ackermann (86) set the basis for the Warriors’ total. It was Smuts’ sixth competition hundred and his innings included eight fours and five sixes and came off only 144 balls. He was eventually out caught in the deep off Budaza who finished four for 69 in 10 overs.
Smuts won the toss and opted to bat and he and Gihahn Cloete got to a sedate, but solid start. They took the opening stand to 46 before Cloete (22) swung across the line and was bowled by seamer Mbulelo Budaza off the final ball of the 11th over.
Colin Ingram (8) joined Smuts but did not last long before playing a hook shot off Sammy Mofokeng straight into the safe hands of Swanepoel at a deep fine leg.
Ackermann, who was also impressive on the day, was next in and looked in aggressive mood from the outset. Smuts was happy to play a secondary role to him and the ploy worked well for the home team.
Their 151-run stand in just under 30 overs was ended when Ackermann was bowled by Budaza trying to force the pace in the closing overs. His runs came off 96 deliveries and included five fours and three sixes.
WARRIORS: Colin Ackermann, Colin Ingram, Andrew Birch, Gihahn Cloete (wk), Aya Gqamane, Jerry Nqolo, Lesiba Ngoepe, Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Yaseen Vallie, Kelly Smuts, Sisanda Magala
VKB KNIGHTS: Mbulelo Budaza, Marchant de Lange, Leus du Plooy, David Miller, Luthando Mnyanda, Sammy Mofokeng, Keegen Peterson, Rudi Second (wk), Aubrey Swanepoel, Pite van Biljon (capt), Shadley van Schalkwyk