The Warriors claimed their first win of the One Day Cup in a low-scoring game against a young Knights outfit in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Knights, who earned a bonus-point win against the Cobras last time out, fielded a young side containing four players under the age of 23.
Both Theunis de Bruyn and Duanne Olivier were unavailable after being selected for the Proteas Test squad to play the Black Caps in New Zealand, starting on 8 March.
The Warriors’ hesitant start, which saw them score only one run in three overs, stuck with them throughout their innings. They lost four wickets for 96 off 27.4 overs, as the Knights sliced through their batting lineup. The hosts only managed to reach 185 in 47.5 overs, showing how difficult runs were to come by.
Twenty-three-year-old Aubrey Swanepoel started things off for his side, picking up Gihahn Cloete (14 off 30), followed by Captain Jon-Jon Smuts on 33 off 56 balls. Twenty-one-year-old legbreaker, Tshepo Ntuli, then dismissed Colin Ingram (17 off 34), followed by Marchant de Lange, who dismissed David White (13 off 35) as the visitors crumbled before the 100-mark.
The wickets continued to tumble. Yaseen Vallie, after his star 94 not out against the Cobras last time out, could not repeat his stellar performance and was clean-bowled by Dillon du Preez (3-18) on 27 off 37 balls in the 36th over. Shadley van Schalkwyk then took two quick wickets. He picked up Simon Harmer (2) in the 37th, and then Lesiba Ngoepe (23) in the 39th as the Warriors were restricted to 141-7.
Du Preez rubbed salt into the Warriors’ wounds, picking up a brace in the 47th over. Sisanda Magala tried to hang around, but was knocked over on 23 off 28 balls, followed by Ayabulela Gqamane for a duck.
Van Schalkwyk (3-37) wrapped things up, catching the edge of Andrew Birch (24 off 26) to bundle out the opposition.
The Knights struggled to keep wickets. Grant Makoena was the first one back on the pavilion when he was trapped lbw by Birch with the second last ball of the 10th over. His opening partner, Rudi Second (19), who was starting to look settled, was next to go on the first ball of the 11th over as the Knights remained on 34.
Pite van Biljon continued to lose partners on the other end, as he kept the run-rate moving. He helped his side to 81-2 (21 overs) until 22-year-old Luus Du Plooy was trapped lbw off the bowling of Ingram. Four overs later, Ingram struck again, catching 22-year-old Diego Rosier off his own bowling. Van Biljon’s 43 off 60 balls would get the hosts to 96, as he was bowled by Smuts two balls into the 27th over.
After passing the 100-mark, Harmer produced two quick wickets. Van Schalkwyk edged one to Cloete for Harmer’s first, then trapped Swanepoel lbw in his next over. While on 118, the hosts lost three wickets for three runs thanks to magnificent bowling from the Warriors captain. Smuts took two scalps in the 34th over to remove De Lange and 23-year-old Mbulelo Baduza.
He took the final wicket of Du Preez in his next over to end with career-best figures of 4-4, claimed five points and a 64-run win. The Knights were bowled out for the third lowest 50-over total at the Diamond Oval since Bangladesh posted 151 in 2002 against the Proteas.
Smuts picked up the Man of the Match award.