Pietersen sparkles again, but Cobras edge Dolphins
Kevin Pietersen stroked his way to a fourth straight 50-plus score, taking his tournament tally to 364 runs, but could not prevent Dolphins' five-wicket defeat to Cape Cobras in Centurion. With scores of 115*, 100* and 68 already under his belt this season, Pietersen helped himself to six fours and three sixes as he blasted a 35-ball 59 after Dolphins opted to bat. Pietersen, though, received little by way of support from his team-mates, as Wayne Parnell (4 for 20) struck at regular intervals to restrict the team to 148 for 9. Besides Pietersen, only David Miller and Ryan McLaren managed double-digit scores.
Cobras' opener Richard Levi got the chase off to a blazing start, drilling 61 off 28 balls with five fours and sixes each. Such was Levi's dominance on the pitch that by the time he was dismissed, in the sixth over, his opening partner Andrew Puttick had made just 2. Levi's blitz ensured that despite a middle-order stutter - four wickets fell in five overs - the team was able to overhaul the target in 19.4 overs, with Puttick (33) and Sybrand Engelbrecht (21*) also chipping in with handy knocks.
Electing to bat, Lions' innings gained no momentum right from the start, as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Pretorius, who came in at No. 5, scored 35 off 28 balls to take their total to 112 for 7. Seamer Shadley van Schalkwyk was the pick of Knights' bowlers, as he registered figures of 4-1-19-4.
Knights were off to a quick start in their chase, as openers Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw put on 30 runs in 3.5 overs, before Lonwabo Tsotsobe had Rossouw caught and bowled for 11. It triggered a collapse, as Knights first slumped to 40 for 3 and then 64 for 6. Leie and Pretorius, who finished with three wickets, ensured that Knights were bowled out with one over to spare.
Set 150 to win, de Kock and Henry Davids put on 71 for the first wicket in 8.5 overs before seamer Lundi Mbane removed Davids for a 35-ball 43. Offspinner Colin Ackermann then dismissed de Kock and captain Albie Morkel in the same over, but by then Titans were well ahead of the asking rate. Farhaan Behardien eventually completed the chase with 17 balls to spare.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Warriors were off to a racy start, as captain Colin Ingram smashed 28 off 15 balls. But, his dismissal in the eighth over slowed things down, and Ackermann, who made 40 off 49 balls, was the fourth man out in the 16th over. Christiaan Jonker, however, played a cameo of 31 off 21 balls, and took the Warriors score past 100 and set a platform for a strong total. David Wiese finished with three wickets for Titans, while Chris Morris and Tabraiz Shamsi picked up two each.
Following their victories, Dolphins and Titans now occupy first and second position on the standings, while Lions, by virtue of the win, have moved up to fourth spot. Cobras are placed third on the points table.