Knights fall short in dramatic chase
Knights gave Titans a real scare on the final day, falling 32 short of their target of 435 at SuperSport Park. Centuries by Gihahn Cloete and Rilee Rossouw took the Knights to a commanding position of 298 for 1 and were favourites to chase down the target. But David Wiese and Marchant de Lange shared seven wickets between them as Knights lost their last nine wickets for 104 runs in a dramatic collapse.
Titans opted to bat first and were in trouble at 88 for 4 before they were rescued by Roelof van der Merwe who scored a quick 87. Wiese and Mangaliso Mosehle chipped in with a couple of 40s and Juan de Villiers resisted with 59 at No.9 as they posted 366. Quinton Friend finished with 4 for 72. Knights failed to put on substantial partnerships and folded up for 218, with the wicketkeeper Werner Coetsee top-scoring with 57. Titans lost their openers early, but built on their 148-run lead through half-centuries from Qaasim Adams and Mosehle. Mosehle made 56 while Adams top scored with 84 and their partnership of 105 was the best of the innings. They declared at 286 for 7 late on the third day, setting the Knights a target of 435. The Knights ended the day at 32 for no loss.
After Reeza Hendricks' departure for 46, Cloete and Rossouw took control with a stand of 209 for the second wicket. With Cobras pulling off a victory over Warriors, Knights knew that they needed to win in order to keep pace on the points table. The pair scored at nearly five an over to keep Knights in the hunt. The stand ended when Rossouw was dismissed by de Villiers for a 122-ball 127. De Villiers got the other crucial wicket of Cloete for 129 and Titans had clawed back. The partnerships for the next six wickets didn't go beyond single digits as Wiese and de Lange chipped away with the new ball. A tenth-wicket stand of 43 between Malusi Siboto and Corne Dry added to the drama but Wiese ended the innings by having Dry caught behind. Knights now trail Cobras by more than 19 points, making it all but impossible for them to overhaul the table leaders in the final round of the season.
Cape Cobras are poised to successfully defend their Sunfoil Series title after a 184-run walloping of Warriors at Newlands. Stiaan van Zyl's 15th first-class century helped overcome a top-order malfunction and Rory Kleinveldt's 4 for 40 set up a giant first innings lead, which Cobras used expertly to canter to victory.
The situation was considerably murkier when Cobras were teetering on 73 for 4 after being asked to bat. But van Zyl and Dane Vilas orchestrated a stirring recover as they amassed 163 runs together. Van Zyl struck 19 fours and a six in his 142 while Vilas compiled an enterprising 86 off 114 balls. Kleinveldt was allowed a free rein and he biffed 66 off 59 to hoist the total well past the 350-mark.
A poor start plagued Warriors as well and Klieinveldt ensured a rescue by the middle order would not be forthcoming by claiming three wickets in seven overs. The score dipped to a grim 97 for 8 before Athenkosi Dyili and Juan Theron contrived to give some respect to the innings. Their 59-run partnership though was only enough to lift the score to 158.
Steady performances down the order in the second innings further cemented Cobras' dominance. Justin Ontong exploited a good foundation by the openers and with a sedate half-century and Kleinveldt blitzed 23 off 7 balls, with three sixes to set up the declaration. Simon Harmer offered some respite for Warriors as he accounted for six of the seven wickets to fall.
With a target of 474, Warriors were in sore need for big scores but they had to settle for Colin Ackermann's 78. Dyili and Theron were required to resume their rearguard, but it wasn't to be any more successful than their first one.
Daryn Smit produced a spell-binding display to usher Dolphins to a whopping 238-run victory over Lions at Kingsmead. Brought on as third-change, he stole five wickets in 20 balls stun Lions to 85 all out in their second innings.
Dolphins were sent in after the first day was abandoned and produced a solid display with opener Divan van Wyk anchoring the innings with 93 off 191 balls. His brother and captain Morne struck a rapid half-century to push the total past 300 following which the declaration came.
Lions' reply was led by a century from their captain Stephen Cook and he was also bold enough to tempt a result by declaring despite being 93 runs behind. His bowlers responded reasonably well, with Cliffe Deacon and Under-19 World Cup winner Kagiso Rabada picking up six wickets between them. Morne van Wyk fell one run short of completing another half-century and Smit warmed up for his encore later in the match with 47 off 80 balls, with five fours.
With 324 to defend, Kyle Abbott and Daryn Dupavillon began brightly as they reduced Lions to 43 for 5. On came Smit (5-5) and he blew the lower order away with his legspinners to secure Dolphins' third entry into the top-ten best bowling performances this season.