Ricochet News

Momentum One-Day Cup: Warriors’ resilience scrapes narrow victory over Knights at St. Georges

BY MARC JACOBSON - MARCH 20, 2017
Momentum One-Day Cup: Warriors’ resilience scrapes narrow victory over Knights at St. Georges

The Warriors held off to a resilient 6-run victory over the Knights in their third-last Momentum One-Day Cup clash at St. Georges Park on Friday night.

Scraping past in the crunch final overs of the day, the match swayed 50/50 in contention, after the Warriors gained a boosted upheaval earlier on in their bowling spell to defend their 284/8 score.

It was the first half of the Knights’ innings, when the Warriors looked to ascend to victory as the visitors stood at 128/5 in the 24th over, before a concrete 80-run partnership between captain Pite van Biljon and 8th-ordered Aubrey Swanepoel catapulted their side’s hopes.

Suddenly momentum shifted and the outcome remained in equal swing, with the pair lasting 16.1 overs before van Biljon was caught by bowler Colin Ackermann for 84. It did not end there for the Knights, as Swanepoel kept strike in the middle keeping their ball rolling.

The Warriors took two further wickets, but with Swanepoel still alive with the bat, the result was never set in stone, as the match concluded to a nail-baiter. The Warriors’ bowling, however, also kept persisting, taking wickets but not the vital one, as the Knights then needed 11 runs to win off the final over.

Andrew Birch, who bowled the final stint, then showed fine composure and resilience to not buckle under pressure, as he restricted the Knights’ to just five runs on that final over, including a wicket on the 5th ball. Birch was also responsible for bowling out respected Proteas’ hitter, David Miller, earlier on for just 18 and achieved innings bowling figures of 3/45.

Swanepoel ended the innings unbeaten for 76. In the first half of the innings, Luthando Mnyanda also partnered well with van Biljon in also forming an 80-run partnership with an individual score of 43. The Knights’ final score was 278/8.

The Warriors, in their first innings’ batting run, scored composedly, before their run-rate accelerated in the last five overs. Captain JJ Smuts once again batted superbly, scoring a mammoth 132; this after he scored 141 the previous Sunday against the Cape Cobras and his form has seemingly been a telling facet to the round-robin crunch time in the competition.

Batting very well with Smuts in the middle, Ackermann scored a styling 86, as the two set a distinct 151-run partnership.

Mbulelo Budaza contributed significantly for the Knights, achieving 4/69 bowling figures.

The Warriors are now placed third on the Momentum One-Day Cup log with 21 points, only two points above the fifth-placed Knights and just two behind the second-placed Titans. The Dolphins are currently log-leaders with 24 points.

The Warriors are set to face the Titans in Benoni, Willowmoore Park, on Tuesday the Public Holiday in their next vital encounter.