Excellent bowling combined with half centuries end Knights’ hopes
The Warriors booked their place in the Momentum One-Day cup final with an 18-run victory over the Knights in the qualifier at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein last night. Having won the toss and elected to bat first, the Warriors posted a challenging 249 for seven in their 50 overs, thanks to half centuries from Colin Ingram and Gihahn Cloete.
Excellent bowling from Sisanda Magala and Basheer Walters restricted the Knights to 231 for six to set up a final meeting with the Titans for the second time this season.
The Knights had looked in a good position with Keegan Petersen and David Miller at the crease but Andrew Birch turned the match on its head when he clean-bowled Miller for 52, ending the third-wicket stand on 110.
Anrich Nortje had claimed the early wicket of Rudi Second and then Tumelo Bodibe after Birch and Magala had failed to make an early breakthrough.
With Miller and Petersen going well, the Knights were in total control but, with Birch’s reintroduction into the attack, the Warriors took the ascendancy as Birch claimed the wicket of the Knights’ captain, Pite van Biljon.
Once Miller departed, the Warriors’ bowlers strangled the home side’s batting lineup as Petersen failed to face the majority of the strike.
Petersen was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Colin Ackermann off the bowling of Walters for a well-played 83, but it was in vain as Magala and Walters closed off the match, conceding just 30 runs in the final five overs when the Knights required 49.
Earlier, the Warriors’ innings was built around Ingram (83) and Cloete (60), who shared in a 104-run stand for the second wicket after Marchant de Lange had dismissed Jon-Jon Smuts early on.
Ingram and Cloete started off slowly and cautiously but slowly built momentum, bringing up their 50-run stand off 77 deliveries. Man of the match Ingram was given a life on 26 when he was dropped by second behind the stumps.
The left-hander used his chance to the full, striking seven boundaries and two maximums while also being instrumental in the thirdwicket stand of 75 with Ackermann (37).
Once Ingram departed, caught by De Lange off Shadley van Schalkwyk, it looked as though the Warriors might fall a few runs short as Lesiba Ngoepe (11) and Jerry Nqolo (13) struggled to find the ropes but some lusty blows from Birch (13) and a six off the last ball by Magala (six not out), lifted the visitors to their total of 249.
The Warriors enjoyed their third straight One Day cup victory over the Knights and now face the Titans in the final on Friday, in a repeat of the T20 final they contested at SuperSport Park in Centurion in December.
The men from the Eastern Cape will be hoping to overturn the six-run defeat in that final.