Kimberley - A career-best half-century from Christiaan Jonker handed the Warriors a winning start to their T20 Challenge campaign with an eight-wicket victory on the Duckworth/Lewis method over the Knights at De Beers Diamond Oval here on Sunday.
The right-hander, playing in just his sixth 20-over match, blasted 66 not out from 44 balls and received good support from Colin Ingram (46 off 43) as the visitors reached their revised 127 victory target with 11 balls to spare.
Rilee Rossouw (35) and Gihahn Cloete (37) had earlier helped the hosts to a strong start, but they fell apart during the second half of their innings when they lost six wickets for 59 runs, two of those to pick of the bowlers Rusty Theron (2/23), who was returning from over six months out with a stress fracture.
At the start, the Warriors fully justified their decision to bowl first after winning the toss, even though it did not entirely look at a good call after the opening 10 overs.
The men from the Eastern Cape removed the dangerous Loots Bosman in the third over, Ashwell Prince catching out the opener at mid-wicket off Wayne Parnell for four.
Rossouw and Cloete then laid down a fine platform with a 65-run stand that took the Knights to 77 for one early in the 11th over, but it all went wrong from there.
Rising young star Ayabulela Gqamane undid Rossouw with a short ball that was top-edged to Prince at fine leg, before Cloete was run out.
Ryan Bailey (three) followed in the same manner, before the hosts limped past 100 in the 15th over.
Ryan McLaren (10) was bowled by Andrew Birch, while Theron claimed the remaining two wickets to fall, including that of Obus Pienaar (24), with the Free Staters reaching 136 for seven.
That total was revised to 127 in 18 overs after some rain during the interval and the visitors then made a terrible start to the reply by losing Prince for a first-ball duck when he was bowled by Johan van der Wath.
But Jonker and Ingram added 109 for the second over to put the Warriors into a commanding position, which they never relinquished as they cruised to a comfortable win.
Loots Bosman, Rilee Rossouw, Gihahn Cloete, Ryan Bailey, Obus Pienaar, Ryan McLaren, Werner Coetsee, Dillon du Preez, Johan van der Wath (captain), Jandre Coetzee, Malusi Siboto.
Ashwell Prince, Davey Jacobs (captain), Colin Ingram, Christiaan Jonker, Adrian McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Craig Thyssen, Simon Harmer, Rusty Theron, Andrew Birch, Ayabulela Gqamane.