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Johannesburg - Dean Elgar scored a 50 and then took four wickets to lead the Knights to a memorable six-run victory over the Warriors in a low-scoring Ram Slam T20 Challenge fixture at St George's Park on Thursday.
Defending a meagre 114 runs, the Knights needed a hero and Elgar stepped up to the plate to perform a remarkable escape act with his part-time left-arm spinners.
The Warriors looked comfortable in their run-chase at 78 for two in the 15th over. But Elgar set the cat amongst the pigeons when, after earlier dismissing Warriors captain Davy Jacobs for 30, he ran through the Warriors middle-order, claiming the wickets of Samit Patel (6) and Adrian McLaren (0). He then picked up the innings' top-scorer Ashwell Prince (37) to complete his best return in this format of the game, beating his previous mark of three for 10 against the Dolphins in Durban five years ago.
The part time spinner finished with four for 23 from his four overs.
While the Warriors will wonder how they managed to lose the match, the Knights will celebrate moving into the playoff positions. Both sides have three matches remaining and will now be in an intriguing race for second spot.
The Knights won the toss and captain Johan van der Wath choose to have first strike on a difficult pitch.
But two early run outs cost them dearly.
Aya Gqamane ran out Gihahn Cloete with a perfect underhand throw in the first over and then Patel got rid of Loots Bosman with a direct hit.
Obus Pienaar and Dean Elgar set about restoring some order, but the recovery came at a slow pace with the Warriors bowling attack maintaining their disciplines.
Offspinner Simon Harmer displayed superb control with the new ball bowling his four overs up front for only 15 runs.
Elgar and Pienaar added 37 for the third-wicket, but took nine overs overs to do it. Gqamane made the breakthrough when he had Pienaar caught at deep square by Craig Thyssen for 22.
Elgar was joined by Piet van Biljon and the two posted 61 runs before Parnell struck having Biljon caught at midwicket by Christiaan Jonker for 17.
Elgar, meanwhile, went on register what was remarkably only his third career 50 in this format of the game. He was eventually not out at the end with 61 off 60-balls including two fours and four sixes. In what turned out to be a match-winning performance. - Sapa