Raynard van Tonder of the VKB Knights after reaching his 200 during day 2 of the 2019/20 4-Day Franchise Series game between the Knights and the Titans at Mangaung Oval. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

BLOEMFONTEIN – Raynard van Tonder recorded the second double century of the season before three wickets by the VKB Knights put them on top at the halfway stage of their top-of-the-table 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Momentum Multiply Titans in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old scored a superb 204 (360 balls, 21 fours, 1 six) – his maiden franchise double ton – and was aided by Wandile Makwetu’s career-best 99 (176 balls. 9 fours, 2 sixes) as the hosts amassed 541 for seven declared, before reducing the visitors to 75 for three at the close.

That gave them a 466-run lead at the halfway stage at the Mangaung Oval, with Van Tonder the undoubted star against the table-toppers from Centurion.

The former South Africa Under-19 captain, batting in the unfamiliar role of opener, also became the first batsman to cross the 500-run mark this season, with his tally now up to 546 in just six innings at the remarkable average of 109.20.

He began day two not out on 172 and batted for the first hour, before eventually falling after a total of eight hours in the middle. His double century followed that of his captain, Pite van Biljon, in round two.

Raynard van Tonder celebrates his maiden double ton at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

It was then left to another former SA U19 star in Makwetu to lead the way, and, even though he fell agonisingly short of three figures on debut for the Knights, it was still an innings that help drive the Titans further out of the game.

The 20-year-old, playing against the franchise he left in the off-season, added 151 for the seventh wicket alongside fast bowler Gerald Coetzee, who ended up recording his maiden red-ball half-century – a score of 59 not out (83 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes).

The end of that partnership prompted the declaration after 157.3 overs. Matthew Arnold was the best of the bowlers with three for 65.

In response, Victor Mahlangu (28) and Wesley Marshall (31) put on a solid 55 for the opening wicket. But they were dismissed by Patrick Kruger (1/8) and Shaun von Berg (1/8) respectively, with Coetzee (1/31) taking out Neil Brand (2) in between as the Titans slipped to 67 for three.

By the end Heinrich Klaasen (8) was fending off the Knights, with nightwatchman Junio Dala (0) alongside him.

Sport Reporter