van der Wath keeps Knights on top
Knights remained unbeaten and surged to the top of the standings with a 211-run win over the hapless Warriors in Kimberley. Warriors opted to field first and bowled Knights out for 349, a decent effort on a traditionally flat pitch. The Knights built their innings on their second-wicket stand, 157 runs between Reeza Hendricks and Boeta Dippenaar, which was the highest partnership of the match. Rusty Theron was the most successful bowler and showed his worth in first-class cricket with 4 for 73.
Warriors lost both their openers, JJ Smuts and Warren Bell, without scoring. Colin Ingram and Ashwell Prince staged a recovery, with a century partnership, but there was very little from the Warriors line-up after them. With five ducks dotting their innings and four-wicket hauls for Johann van der Wath and Quinton Friend, Warriors were out for 206, 143 runs behind.
Dean Elgar put the match beyond their opponents with a crisp 160 in the Knights second innings. He was supported by Obus Pienaar's 73 and Morne van Wyk's 47. Knights declared on 381 for 8, setting Warriors an improbable 525 to win. Again, the Warriors openers failed, with both of them falling with just 36 runs on the board.
Prince scored his second half-century of the match and Arno Jacobs kept him company with 93, but saving the game was also a bridge too far for them to cross. Van der Wath ended the match with nine wickets, after taking 5 for 86 in the second innings, as Warriors crashed to their third defeat in the competition and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
Both matches on the weekend yielded results as the Cobras beat the Titans by an innings and 46 runs in Benoni. Cobras chose to field and had immediate success when they removed both Titans openers in quick succession. Jacques Rudolph, who, earlier in the week received a Test recall, failed for the first time this season making just two. Rory Kleinvedlt was the architect of the Titans collapse and took 5 for 26. Only Farhaan Behardien was able to put up any resistance and top-scored with 45 as the Titans were bowled out for 112.
Fifteen wickets fell on the first day but Cobras were able to obtain an innings lead. Stiaan van Zyl's 66 saw them close the day on 173 for 5. Dane Vilas was at the crease overnight and ensured that, on a tricky pitch, Cobras only had to bat once. His 161 came at almost a run a ball (165 balls), a remarkable feat given that Vilas batted with the lower middle order and tail for most of his innings.
Rowan Richards took 4 for 104 and David Wiese claimed 3 for 77 to bowl the Cobras out for 394. They had a healthy lead of 282, a deficit that proved insurmountable for the Titans. Vernon Philander, who also received a Test call up, tore through the Titans top order and finished with four wickets. Berhardien was again difficult to remove and Henry Davids, who scored 56, shared in a 103-stand with him. When the two of them were dismissed, Titans had all but surrendered. Hardus Viljoen made a fighting 40 at the death but Titans were bowled out for 236. Despite the defeat, they lie in second place while the Cobras, who have a game in hand, are in third.
Heino Kuhn sustained a hamstring injury in the match, ruling him out of the South Africa A squad to play Australia in a tour match this week in Potchefstroom. Lions' wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has been named as his replacement.