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Warriors close in on top spot with six-wicket win

File photo - Colin Ingram helped Warriors recover from an early loss and steered their chase with a half-century Getty Images

Andrew Birch's five-wicket haul helped Warriors close in on Titans' top position in the table with a six-wicket win in Centurion. After Titans were restricted to 147, the Warriors chase was steered by half-centuries from Colin Ingram and Colin Ackermann.

Put in to bat, Aiden Markram (23) and Heinrich Klaasen (26) got starts, but Titans lost wickets regularly once Birch broke the opening stand in the third over. Sisanda Magala and the rest of the attack reduced them to 88 for 5 before Birch returned and took four of the remaining five wickets. That Warriors recovered to 147 was down to Albie Morkel (25 off 21) and David Wiese (36 off 28), and their stand of 42 for the sixth wicket. Birch finished with career-best T20 figures of 5 for 16.

Warriors also lost their first wicket early, to Morkel, but JJ Smuts and Ingram put on a rapid 68 in 8.1 overs to put their chase on track. Once Smuts fell for 33 off 25, Ingram and Ackermann pushed the score past 100, and though Ingram fell to Tabraiz Shamsi for 50 off 45, and Ackermann for a quicker 53 off 34 with three sixes, the chase was sealed with seven balls to spare.

At the Diamond Oval in Kimberley, left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin dented Knights' chase of 183 with 4 for 39 to give Lions a 20-run win. It was Knights' sixth consecutive defeat, after their win over Cape Cobras in the tournament opener, as they continued to languish at the bottom of the table.

Knights lost Michael Erlank on the first ball of the chase, caught off fast bowler Hardus Viljoen. Partnerships of 46 for the second wicket between captain Theunis de Bruyn and Leus du Plooy, and 50 for the third wicket between du Plooy and Pite van Biljon helped them recover. Du Plooy was trapped lbw by Fortuin having top-scored with 45, and when van Biljon fell to the same bowler for 42, Knights were 123 for 5. They lost another wicket at the same score, before slapping 39 runs off the last 25 balls to finish on 162 for 6.

Opting to bat, Lions had a solid foundation laid by openers Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks, who put on 66 in 6.5 overs. Hendricks struck five fours and two sixes in his 31-ball knock, and when he fell at the halfway stage, caught off de Bruyn's pace bowling, he had made 53 out of Lions' total of 88. Thereafter, Nicky van den Bergh took over and pinged four fours and three sixes before perishing in the last over for 57 off 35.

Knights' bowlers shared the wickets equally with Marchant de Lange, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Aubrey Swanepoel and de Bruyn taking a wicket apiece.

Knights 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0MN ErlankTB de Bruyn
2nd46TB de BruynJL du Plooy
3rd50PJ van BiljonJL du Plooy
4th14PJ van BiljonM de Lange
5th13PJ van BiljonAR Swanepoel
6th0TM BodibeAR Swanepoel
7th39TM BodibeLL Mnyanda