Warriors: 153/9 (Jonker 61)
Knights: 157/2 (De Bruyn 78*, Miller 62*; Walters 1/30)
Knights won by 8 wickets
The Warriors were made to rue a couple of dropped catches which allowed Knights captain Theunis de Bruyn the freedom to power the visitors to victory in the RamSlam T20 Challenge opener at St George’s Park on Friday evening.
De Bruyn (78* off 48 balls, 3x4, 4x6) and David Miller (62* off 47 balls, 7x4, 3x6) were joined at the crease with the Knights reeling on 15/2 after 3.3 overs, but were not separated for a further 142 runs off just 90 balls as the Knights’ two Proteas batsmen took on the responsibility of taking their team home.
Initially it proved to be a struggle with the home team’s seamers finding good seam and swing movement to both the right- and left-hander.
“It wasn’t easy up front. Davey and I had a conversation that we should just soak up the pressure and luckily it came off. If you think about it clearly, there is more time than you think,” De Bruyn said.
Andrew Birch, actually, thought he had hit the jackpot when he trapped Miller, who only last week broke the world record for the fastest T20 century off only 35 balls, first ball on the pads after clean bowling Grant Mokoena with his previous delivery.
But unfortunately for the Warriors, Birch’s vociferous appeal, with the veteran seamer virtually on his knees pleading for approval, was dismissed by umpire Shaun George.
Birch continued to trouble Miller and De Bruyn, but the duo weathered the storm before breaking loose later on.
During this testing period the home side managed to push the run-rate up to 10 runs an over at one stage, but wasted the opportunities when the pressure took its toll on especially De Bruyn.
The chances were spilled by experienced campaigners Colin Ingram and Jon-Jon Smuts and with it went any chance the Warriors had of defending a below-par 153.
De Bruyn certainly made the home side pay heavily for the dropped catches as he immediately smashed off-spinner Colin Ackerman for three sixes in one over after the reprieves.
It was the impetus the chase required as the required run-rate dropped alarmingly after that as the pair kept their composure to comfortably knock off the runs with two overs to spare.
Earlier, the Warriors required a swashbuckling 61 off just 38 balls (4x4, 4x4) from Christiaan Jonker to keep their innings afloat.
Shadley van Schalkwyk was at his miserly best with figures of 3/25 and was well supported by leg-spinner Eddie Leie, who claimed 2/16 from his four overs. Marchant de Lange also chipped in with 2/25.