Theunis de Bruyn and David Miller smashed half-centuries to hand the Knights an eight-wicket win over the Warriors in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
To date, the ball-park winning total at St George’s Park has been 148-runs plus, with 83% of matches ending in defeat for teams unable to reach that target.
Despite the Warriors lacking Proteas players in their ranks, they started solidly; Jon-Jon Smuts and Gihahn Cloete sharing 39 runs in four overs.
The bowling change sparked a collapse as the Warriors slipped to 46-3 two overs later – Shadley van Schalkwyk (3-25) removed Cloete (19) and Smuts (18) slammed an Aubrey Swanepoel delivery into the hands of Van Schalkwyk.
Colin Ingram was run out two balls after the powerplay, which preceded Van Schalkwyk’s double, removing Colin Ackermann and Jerry Nqolo to knock the hosts five down for 69 runs in 11 overs.
Eddie Leie’s final over saw a double from the leg-spinner as Solo Nqweni (16) and Sisanda Magala (0) lost their scalps, the Warriors on 108-7 after 16 overs.
Christiaan Jonker (61 off 38) played a fine-tuned lone hand, reaching his sixth half-century in 34 balls. The 31-year-old smashed 24 runs in five deliveries (2×6, 2×4) before he was dismissed by Marchant de Lange (2-25) in the 19th over, the Warriors posting 153-9.
The hosts bowled well up front, removing the Knights’ openers in quick succession, Basheeru-Deen Walters and Andrew Birch taking a wicket apiece to reduce them to 15-2 (3.3 overs).
The hype was around David Miller, and due to a few close shaves early on, he got off to a spluttering start as the visitors posted 27-2 in the powerplay – 19 runs behind the Warriors at the same stage.
It took a no-ball from Ayabulela Gqamana to kick-start Miller time. The Proteas big-hitter smashed his first maximum off a free hit on his 16th ball. Supported by his captain, Theunis de Bruyn, batting at a run a ball, the Knights prodded to 65-2 by the halfway stage.
Roles switched as De Bruyn went on to reach his half-century first, smashing three sixes in the 14th over to take the Knights past the 100-run mark.
Striking at over 160, De Bruyn brought the Knights within touching distance, needing 28 off the final four overs.
Back-to-back fours for Miller brought up his 43-ball half-century, setting the highest third-wicket partnership for the Knights and surpassing Dean Elgar and Pite van Biljon’s 120 in 2013-14.
De Bruyn, 78 off 48 balls (6×6, 3×4), and Miller, 62 off 72 balls (3×6, 7×4), shared a 90-ball 142-run stand, as the visitors claimed an eight-run victory with two overs to spare.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images