PORT ELIZABETH – Gerald Coetzee and Mbulelo Budaza grabbed two wickets apiece late on day three to put the VKB Knights on course for victory in their opening match of the 2019/20 4-Day Domestic Series against the Warriors in Kimberley on Wednesday.
The pair tore through the visitors’ top order with two for 14 and two for 15 respectively to leave them with a mountain to climb on 64 for five at stumps, chasing a target of 436 at the Diamond Oval.
It completed a dominant day for the Central Franchise, who also asserted themselves with the bat through half-centuries for captain Pite van Biljon, Keegan Petersen and debutant Shaun von Berg.
They had started the day in charge on with a 134-run lead and nine wickets in hand and ended it in an even more powerful position.
After the loss of Grant Mokoena (12) first ball, skipper Van Biljon struck 95 off 135 balls (10 fours, 2 sixes) and Petersen (84 off 148 balls, 7 fours) to share an outstanding 176-run third-wicket stand that put them almost out of sight.
Both eventually fell in quick succession to Lutho Sipamla (3/70), but Von Berg continued his excellent debut for his new side with an unbeaten 61 off 88 balls (6 fours, 2 sixes), sharing in stands of 69 with Clyde Fortuin (34) and 39 unbroken with another debutant, Marco Jansen (20).
That allowed the Knights to declare on 332 for six.
A young man playing his first franchise game, Coetzee, then rocked the Warriors early on by sending openers Eddie Moore and Matthew Breetzke, both for four, packing inside 2.5 overs.
It was nine for two at that stage, and after a brief Gihahn Cloete (31) led the recovery, Budaza struck twice to get rid of the set man as well as former Knights man Rudi Second (9).
Von Berg then got one of the most valuable wickets in the visitors’ line-up – captain Jon-Jon Smuts (8) – leaving the away side in a huge fix at the close.
African News Agency (ANA)