Knights cut Warriors down to size in low scoring affair at Buffalo Park

In an exciting, low-scoring Momentum One-Day Cup match played at Buffalo Park on Friday, the visiting VKB Knights pipped the Warriors by five wickets after reaching their target of 122 with a well-deserved bonus point.
The Warriors were never really in the game after being dismissed for a disappointing 121 in the 27th over.
The Knights won the toss and decided to bowl first which produced dividends as early as the fourth over when opener Jon-Jon Smuts mistimed a hook and was caught for four. Yassen Vallie played some attacking square cuts but when he was out at 31/2 the Warriors’ innings imploded, with three more wickets falling for just three runs, including the other opener Eddie Moore, who made 14 caught in the slips off former international Ryan McLaren’s first ball of the match. Vallie was caught by Rudi Second at cover for 12 and then Sinethemba Qeshile, 1, nicked one to wicketkeeper Andries Gous.
There’s an old saying in cricket: “Never run to a misfield,” and Lesiba Ngoepe found that out the hard way when Second, in the covers, recovered quickly from a misfield and ran him out for a single with a direct throw which hit the middle stump with Ngoepe trying desperately to make his ground.
Sadly, half the team was back in the pavilion for 34.
Meanwhile number six batsman Marco Marais was doing his best to resurrect the innings. Allrounder Thomas Kaber stayed for a time with him for 10, but Kaber became McLaren’s second victim at 51/6. Andrew Birch had a short but merry innings of seven but tried one big hit too many and he departed at 76/7. Sisanda Magala flicked a catch to mid-wicket off Marchant de Lange with the score at 98/8.
Then the hard-hitting Marais went on the attack as the 25th over of the innings exploded into action. He smacked left-arm paceman Mbulelo Budaza for three sixes all over the bowler’s head, but Budaza had his revenge when he smashed through Marais’ defence and he was clean-bowled for 42 - the innings’ highest score - trying another big hit.
Altogether 19 runs came off the over but at 117/9 it was virtually all over for the Warriors.
Moments later Basheer Walters was out to De Lange, who finished with the excellent figures of 3/18. Ottniel Baartman supported well with 3/32 while McLaren finished with 2/19. The Warriors were dismissed for 121 off 26.3 overs.
The Knights innings opened sensationally when opener Patrick Kruger was magnificently caught at fine leg by Walters who flung himself sideways to hold onto the ball.
Birch ran in like a man possessed and he bowled Gous for a single, and then had Keegan Petersen trapped LBW for six and at 13/3 the Warriors were looking at an upset win.
But then Knights skipper Pite van Biljon and the dependable Second came together and took the score to 53 when Van Biljon, who looked comfortable at the crease, cut Magala to a backward point position where Vallie knocked the ball upwards, recovered and took a great catch. Then two runs later Grant Mokoena departed, brilliantly snapped up by Qeshile behind the stumps diving to his left, again off Magala, and at 55/5 the Knights were in big trouble.
McLaren and Second then set about restoring the innings. Second was aggressive and reached his half-century off 54 balls with eight boundaries. In their 50 partnership for the sixth wicket, Second was the dominant partner with 34 runs.
The pair batted sensibly, picking the right ball to hit and slowly but surely the score mounted.
The end came in the 30th over when Second drove Lutho Sipamla for two fours to finish on 71 not out with 10 fours. McLaren made 18 not out...

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