Knights easily defeat Tuskers in Pool B encounter
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The experienced pair of Rilee Rossouw and Farhaan Behardien both posted half-centuries to guide the Knights to another comfortable win on Wednesday in the CSA T20 Knock Out competition.
Rossouw scored 67 and Behardien finished not out on 54 as the Free Staters beat the weather and the Tuskers, earning an important bonus point in the process.
It was another excellent performance from Rossouw, backing up the 73 not out he made in the opening Pool match on Wednesday against the Titans. Although not as flawless as Tuesday - he did offer a chance on 26 which was missed by Kyle Nipper fielding at backward point - the intent with which he played clearly upset the opposition bowlers and fielders.
He arrived at the crease in the second over - after Mangaliso Mosehle, who replaced Matthew Kleinveldt, was run out - and proceeded to hit the first ball he faced straight down the ground for six and followed that with a sweep over square leg for four.
The Tuskers actually bowled well in the power play, picking up three wickets but Rossouw’s aggression allowed the home team to score 47 runs while the fielding restrictions were in place.
Rossouw and Behardien recognised the importance of a big partnership with so much time still left in the innings, and duly provided it, adding 81 runs for the fourth wicket. While Rossouw wasn’t as fluent as on Tuesday - the overhead conditions helped the bowlers to swing the ball, while the dampness in the surface meant the odd delivery also held up - he and Behardien hit the ball into gaps, and utilised the vast outfield at the Mangaung Oval to pick up twos.
The Tuskers’ right arm fast bowler Gareth Dukes impressed with his pace picking up 1/19, while left-arm medium pacer Thula Ngcobo showed good skill with lots of changes in pace to finish with 2/26, one of those being Rossouw’s wicket in the 16th over.
The 31 year old Rossouw, had unfortunately tweaked a ligament in his left knee while thrashing one boundary through the covers, and required medical attention shortly after reaching his half-century. That break seemed to upset his rhythm, he lifted a slower ball from Ngcobo to Cameron Delport in the covers. Rossouw’s 67 came off 47 balls, included fives and two sixes, and was the 31st half-century of his career.
Behardien hit just two fours and one six in his innings, but it was no less valuable to the home team.
The key wicket for the Knights was always going to be that of Delport, who had smashed an unbeaten 74 on the opening day against the Rhinos. He looked in good touch again Wednesday, hitting three fours and a six in a nine ball innings of 18, but was undone by a sharp bouncer from Mbulelo Budaza, which he top edged to short fine leg where Gerald Coetzee took an excellent catch diving forward.
The rest of the Tuskers batsmen struggled to hit boundaries and as the required run rate grew rapidly the Knights’ bowlers were able to apply pressure. Gregory Mahlokwana, bowling slow left arm orthodox to the right hand batsmen and then switching to off-spin against the left-handers picked up 2/11 in three overs. Paceman Migael Pretorius was the most successful of the Knights bowlers finishing with 3/32, while Budaza claimed 2/21 in two overs.
ITEC Knights 154/5 (Rilee Rossouw 67, Farhaan Behardien 54, Thula Ngcobo 2/26, Gareth Dukes 1/19)
HollywoodBets Tuskers 120 (Kyle Nipper 23, Andile Mokgakane 18, Kyle Nipper 18, Migael Pretorius 3/32, Nealan van Heerden 2/8)
Knights won by 34 runs