Jon-Jon Smuts starred with bat and ball as the Warriors sealed their place in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-finals by edging out the Knights by two wickets in a nervy affair at Buffalo Park in East London on Wednesday.
The home captain first took 3/31 as the visitors were bowled out for 216, before blasting a key 43 off 40 balls to help his side chase down their target with 56 balls to spare.
The four points gained for the win in what was effectively a knockout affair took the host to an unassailable 17 points on the table and eliminated the Knights and the Highveld Lions in the process.
Asked to bowl first after losing the toss, the men from the Eastern Cape struggled initially as the away side raced to 141/2 after 30 overs.
This was thanks to an excellent 70 (110 balls, 10x4) by Andries Gous, but the central franchise then collapsed after their top-scorer fell shortly after the captain Rudi Second (23) departed.
Smuts, Colin Ackermann (3/31) and Sisanda Magala (2/41) then all struck key blows at regular intervals to leave the Knights all out in 49.5 overs.
To their credit, the visitors refused to throw in the towel and fought to the end.
After Gihahn Cloete (45) and Lesiba Ngoepe (25) put on 70 for the first wicket, the home side were left in trouble after three wickets by Ottniel Baartman (3/50).
Mbulelo Budaza (2/17) and Werner Coetsee (2/44) also strike twice each to reduce their opponents to 196/8.
But an unbroken 23-run stand between Ayabulela Gqamane (14) and Magala (nine) took them over the line in 40.4 overs.
They will now meet defending champions the Titans in the semi-final, although they must still play the Cape Cobras in their final league match on Friday.
Cricket South Africa