Knights riding high after Warriors’ wickets tumble

Warriors batsman Yaseen Vallie
Warriors batsman Yaseen Vallie

The Knights emphatically held the upper hand against the Warriors at close of play on the opening day of the four-day franchise match at Buffalo Park in East London yesterday.

The visitors meandered their way to 149 for three wickets in their first innings at stumps, a lead of eight runs after the Warriors were disappointingly dismissed for 141.

At the crease were the young and talented Raynard van Tonder on a steady 80 and Pite van Biljon on three.

The batsmen out were Grant Mokoena, who scored four before Warriors fast bowler Andrew Birch had him caught behind the wicket by Rudi Second, the in-form Keegan Petersen, who scored a solid 48, and Shadley van Schalkwyk, who made seven.

Play got under way at 10.30am as the groundsmen feverishly put the finishing touches to the field after Monday’s heavy rains led to the scheduled opening day’s play being cancelled.

The Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first but batting conditions were unfavourable with variable bounce early on.

The innings became a virtual procession as 10 of the 11 Warriors batsmen struggled to make runs and the home team was eventually dismissed about an hour before the scheduled tea interval.

The exception was number three batsman Yaseen Vallie, who scored an elegant and most valuable 91.

He was the last man out as the Knights bowlers took control.

The scoreboard finished with a lopsided appearance with only one other batsman — Kelly Smuts — reaching double figures.

The rot started when opener Eddie Moore, dashing to the City end for an impossible single, was run out for six by a direct throw by mid-off Tshepo Ntuli.

By lunch, four Warriors’ wickets were down for only 64 with Vallie on 45 not out.

Vallie reached his half-century off only 59 balls with 11 fours and was particularly powerful with a number of brilliant cover drives.

By skilfully farming the bowling, he inched his way towards what would have been a memorable century, but it was not to be.

With nine wickets down, he tried one big hit too many and paid the price with a skied catch to third man which was intended to go over square-leg.

His three-hour innings of 91 included 15 boundaries and he faced 113 balls. Daily Dispatch

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