Raynard van Tonder of the VKB Knights with Grant Thompson (C) of Multiply Titans during day 1 of the 2019/20 4-Day Franchise Series game at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on 28 October 2019. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

BLOEMFONTEIN – A magical career-best unbeaten 172 by Raynard van Tonder underpinned a dominant opening day for the VKB Knights in their top-of-the-table 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Momentum Multiply Titans in Bloemfontein on Monday.

The 21-year-old, who two games ago struck a then best franchise score of 165, went even bigger this time as the Central Franchise powered their way to 320 for three after winning the toss and batting at the Mangaung Oval.

His fourth career century came from 307 balls and included 16 fours and a six, while it also continued the incredible rise of the former South Africa Under-19 captain, which is made all the more impressive considering his runs are flowing from an unfamiliar role as opener.

The Grey College graduate was given excellent support by his captain, Pite van Biljon (70 off 106 balls, 10 fours, 1 six), ensuring the second-placed team were on course for a massive first innings score again their top-of-the-table visitors.

The men from Centurion were bolstered by the inclusion of Standard Bank Proteas Lungi Ngidi and Heinrich Klaasen for the game, but even with their strong XI in front of him, the young Van Tonder was not fazed.

He was out in the middle from the time his side won the toss and opted to bat first, initially adding an opening stand of 50 with Grant Mokoena (13).

Raynard van Tonder of the VKB Knights during day 1 of the 2019/20 4-Day Franchise Series game in Bloemfontein. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Ngidi (1/59) broke the stand, before another half-century stand followed between the star man and Keegan Petersen (25) – the pair adding 67 for the second wicket.

After Matthew Arnold (1/40) struck, Van Tonder and his skipper produced 117 for the third wicket as the score was doubled to 234.

That was brought to an end when Tabraiz Shamsi had Van Biljon trapped leg before wicket.

But the dominance continued with an 86-run unbroken stand following between Patrick Kruger (32) and Van Tonder, who by the close had batted for a touch under seven hours.

Sport Reporter