An opening partnership of 90 between Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw gave the Knights the foundation for a 29-run win over the Highveld Lions in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night.
The Knights, without a win in six matches, set off at pace after being sent in, with Hendricks and Rossouw going at 8.9 in 10 overs.
Although Rossouw was to fall as the first of Aaron Phangiso’s two victims in successive overs for 46 off 29 balls (5×4, 2×6), Hendricks anchored the innings and remained unbeaten on 72 off 56 (7×4). Despite the loss of five wickets for 54 runs, Tumelo Bidibe weighed in with a flamboyant 22 off nine balls (1×4, 2×6) at the end to help the Knights to a total of 175-5.
Th Lions’ cause was not helped by Lonwabo Tsotsobe dropping Hendricks, when he was on 28, as he hooked Hardus Viljoen to the boundary.
Despite the efforts of the Lions openers, to match the run-rate of 8.75 required, a tight bowling performance, headed by Malusi Siboto’s 3-29, the wickets fell regularly until the burden became too great.
Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Devon Conway (36) put on 78 for starters, but no one else was able to get going.
Siboto was well supported by Werner Coetsee’s spin (2-20 off three), Shadley van Schalkwyk (2-33) and Andre Russell, who went for just 5.25 in getting 1-21.
Since they were well out of the running, the Knights had nothing to lose, but the Lions, having had just three wins from six before the start of this match, may well have blown their chances of making the play-offs.