Duanne Olivier notched up career-best figures of 11-149 against the Warriors as the Knights climbed to the top of the Sunfoil Series standings.
Olivier, playing in his first match since making his Proteas Test debut against Sri Lanka earlier in the month, has responded emphatically, as he notched up his fourth and fifth five-wicket hauls to steer his side to to the 121-run win. Such is his dominance on the domestic scene this season, that he’s a massive 13 wickets clear of second-place Malusi Siboto on the charts. Olivier now has 39 wickets from six matches at an average of 19.33.
The match was finely poised going into day four in Bloemfontein, with the Warriors needing 242 runs to close out the victory with seven wickets in hand. The Knights made light work of that however thanks to Olivier, once again. The 24-year-old took 6-82 in the first innings, and took four more on Sunday after combining with Marchant de Lange and Mbulelo Budaza to take a wicket apiece the evening before. Lesiba Ngoepe provided the only real resistance for the Warriors with 56, as they were castled for 200.
It was the Warriors’ third defeat of the season to sit in fourth place, making it extremely unlikely for them to attempt a late assault towards to the top of the standings with two matches remaining. The Knights, who won their third match of the campaign and with just one defeat to their name, went over eight points clear of the Titans.
There was an exciting finish at SuperSport Park, too, as the Cobras pulled off an unlikely victory against the Titans, with over half of the match lost to rain and bad light. The defending champions would have believed they were in a fairly comfortable position to close out a draw, going into the last day on 20-0. But they collapsed to 168 all out thanks to a stunning bowling display from Rory Kleinveldt.
The former Proteas paceman took 5-45 to leave the Cobras needing just 41 runs for victory, which they peeled off in just 8.3 overs to win by nine wickets. It signalled an excellent turnaround since Ashwell Prince replaced Paul Adams as head coach, and for the first time this series, the Cape based side have lifted themselves off the foot of the table.
The permutations are going into the final two rounds are endless, as all six teams mathematically have a chance of winning this season’s Sunfoil Series. The Knights are in pole position, but a defeat to the Cobras in Paarl next week could change all of that.
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