A massive batting display by Gihahn Cloete and triple-ton hero Marco Marais crushed the Knights by 60 runs in their One-Day Cup match in Kimberley.
The Warriors have had a lean time in this competition, losing three matches on the trot after an opening-round success. But to dispel the idea that they will be the whipping boys, they ran up 335-9, thanks to Cloete’s 143 and 41 from debutant Marco Marais, the man who shot to fame by scoring the fastest first-class triple-century in history in November.
Faced with that challenge, the Knights tried to put up a stiff fight, but none of their batsmen was able to kick on after getting started, eventually falling for 275. Keegan Petersen, batting at No 5, was their standout batsman, with a well-earned fifty, but he got little support.
Cloete, the opening batsman, has obviously found the key to unlock his potential as he hammered his outstanding 143 off 128 balls, with 25 fours and a six,. Last time out he scored 82 in a one-man stand as the Warriors attempted to chase the Titans’ 312-7. He had scored 39 in his previous three innings.
This time, he had solid support from Clyde Fortuin, who contributed 41 off 46 balls to an opening stand of 91 in 16 overs.
It looked as if the Warrriors would falter, when they lost three quick wickets, slumping to 122-4 before Christiaan Jonker (28) stopped the rot in a 73-run partnership with Cloete for the fifth wicket.
But the real muscle came when Marais strode in. He slammed 41 off 28 balls, with five fours and two sixes, giving a glimpse of the power he showed when he made history by slamming the fastest triple century in first-class cricket, playing for Border against Eastern Province in November.
In that fantastic innings, he smashed 13 sixes and 35 fours, bringing up his 100 off 68 balls, his 200 off 139 balls and his 300 off 191 balls.
So the Knights can count themselves lucky that Duanne Olivier trapped him lbw before he got going. But by then he had taken the score to 262-6 off 41 overs.
Cloete followed soon after, bowled by Olivier, who would have been elated by his call-up to the Proteas for the next Test against India, but the target had been set at 6.70 runs an over. Olivier ended with 4-65.
The result lifted the Warriors to fourth on the table with the Knights rooted at the bottom with three points from three matches.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images