After five losses and two tied matches, the Knights exacted sweet revenge on the Cobras by 75 runs in the One-Day Cup in Bloemfontein.
Having been humiliated in Paarl on Wednesday, when JP Duminy smashed a List A-record 37 runs off one Eddie Leie over, and they lost by eight wickets, the Knights turned the table emphatically.
And for that they can thank Rudi Second and Patrick Kruger, who launched a ferocious attack on the much-vaunted Cobras bowling line-up in an unbroken partnership of 135 for the fifth wicket, which helped the Knights to a challenging 320-4. The last five overs yielded 81 runs, with five sixes and six fours.
Second led the way with 78 off 58 balls, with five fours and four sixes, while Kruger finished 64 off 44 (3×4, 3×6).
It had been almost the perfect start for the Knights, notwithstanding the loss of David Miller for eight. Grant Mokoena had dominated an opening stand of 30 and continued to play a measured role, eventually falling for 75 off 96 balls. Andries Gous, too, was not to be rushed, scoring his 74 off 87 balls to help establish a solid platform at 182-2.
The Knights wobbled a bit at that point, losing Gous to a run-out and Keegan Petersen three runs later, to perch a little precariously at 185-4 after 37 overs.
It was at that point that Second and Kruger decided to put the game away as they batted at a steady tempo until they reached 239 after 45 overs. Then it was ‘cry havoc’ and they let slip the dogs of war.
They were backed up by an excellent all-round bowling attack which whittled away at the line-up after Zubayr Hamza (28) and Pieter Malan (28) had put on 56 in 10 overs to give the Cobras a good start.
While Simon Khomari (21) and Duminy (39) added 43 for the third wicket, the loss of Khomari to Leie heralded a clatter of wickets which saw the Cobras slip from 105-2 to 136-6, with Mbulelo Budaza, who had earlier dismissed Hamza, adding Duminy and Dayyaan Galiem to his tally, ending with 3-40.
Kyle Verreyne (54 off 49) did his best to marshal the tail, but there was little support and he was one of Leie’s 4-65, which must have given the spinner a sense of redemption after going for 90 runs on Wednesday.
While the Cobras remain safe in second place, six points behind the Titans, it leaves the Knights with a mathematical chance of making the semi-finals. They must win their remaining two matches, and hope the Lions and Warriors lose theirs. Both meet the Knights in the run-in.
Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images