1 Day Cup

Knights win thriller

2011-11-30 23:19
Dillon du Preez (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Dillon du Preez excelled with both bat and ball as his extraordinary all-round performance led the Knights to a thrilling one-wicket win over the Highveld Lions in their 1 Day Cup match at the Wanderers here on Wednesday.

Chasing 251 for victory, the Knights went into the final over needing 11 runs to win. Du Preez slammed both the first and fifth balls of Richard Cameron's over for six as the Knights won with just a ball to spare.

It was the sweetest of victories for the Knights, who looked dead and buried when they slumped to 172 for eight after 41 overs.

But Aubrey Swanepoel and Du Preez both played fluently to record half-centuries as they added 62 for the ninth wicket in six-and-a-half overs.

Swanepoel's 54 off 73 balls was a magnificent rearguard action, but Du Preez's 52 not out off just 26 balls, with five sixes, was one of the best innings played in limited-overs cricket in recent years.

Lions pace bowlers Craig Alexander and Pumelela Matshikwe must have thought their sterling efforts with the ball had the win done and dusted.

Alexander ripped through the middle-order, taking four for 18 in his first four overs. The previously out-of-form fast bowler removed Rilee Rossouw (46), Dean Elgar (14), Obus Pienaar (0) and Ryan Bailey (5) to reduce the Lions to 113 for six.

Werner Coetsee (25) and Swanepoel then added 58 for the seventh wicket before Matshikwe returned to bowl Coetsee and claim his second wicket of the innings.

The Coetsee/Swanepoel partnership gave the Knights a foot back in the door, but it still took an exceptional innings from Du Preez to save the semi-finalists from defeat.

Du Preez, who was struggling to make the Knights team a few weeks ago, warmed up as he hit Alexander and Matshikwe for fours in the 44th and 45th overs.

He then launched Alexander for two sixes in the 46th over, collected another maximum off left-armer Cliffe Deacon in the next over, before his terrific final-over onslaught.

Du Preez's five-wicket haul had earlier bowled the Highveld Lions out for a mediocre total of 250.

The bustling seamer took five for 47 to undo the hard work done by the Lions middle-order, who had lifted the home side to 233 for four in the 43rd over.

The Lions were sent in to bat and Du Preez quickly snapped up the wicket of Jonathan Vandiar, caught in the slips for six.

But captain Alviro Petersen and young talent Quinton de Kock gamely wrested the initiative as they added 71 in 12.4 overs.

Petersen was the more reserved of the two, scoring 50 off 61 balls before he edged Du Preez to wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk.

De Kock fell in the next over for 42 off 41 balls, edging an attempted reverse-sweep at off-spinner Coetsee.

Temba Bavuma fell cheaply for 10, but the Lions were near to complete dominance as Neil McKenzie and Thami Tsolekile added 113 for the fifth wicket in 17.4 overs.

Tsolekile raced to 68 off just 57 balls, his eight fours and a six having a definite leg-side flavour, but he edged left-arm seamer Pienaar to Van Wyk to start the lower-order collapse.

McKenzie (52) went to his half-century off 69 balls, before he skied Du Preez to Pienaar as the Lions batsmen, losing their last six wickets for 17 runs in six overs, failed to make the most of their starts.

Coetsee took two for 42 to provide wonderful support to Du Preez, while Johan van der Wath, Pienaar and left-arm spinner Elgar all bowled tightly to restrict the Lions batsmen.


Highveld Lions: Alviro Petersen (captain), Jonathan Vandiar, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Richard Cameron, Thami Tsolekile (wk), Cliffe Deacon, Aaron Phangiso, Craig Alexander, Pumelela Matshikwe.

Knights: Morne van Wyk (captain, wk), Michael Erlank, Rilee Rossouw, Dean Elgar, Obus Pienaar, Ryan Bailey, Werner Coetsee, Johan van der Wath, Dillon du Preez, Aubrey Swanepoel, Malusi Siboto.

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