Cape Town - The Warriors blew their chance to qualify for the Ram Slam T20 play-off as they failed to chase down a low total and lost to the Highveld Lions by 21 runs at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday.
Needing just 128 to win their third game in a row and qualify for the play-off, the Warriors lost their heads and were bowled out for 106 inside 18 overs.
The result means that the Dolphins will now host the Cape Cobras in the play-off match at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Wednesday evening.
The Warriors began the week knowing that three wins in five days was likely to be enough to see them finish either second or third, and victories over the Cobras and the Knights put them on track to do exactly that.
While they needed to beat the Lions with a bonus point to earn a home play-off, merely winning would have been enough to finish third. In the end, the allure of a home game appeared to have distracted them from their main goal.
With Basheeru-Deen Walters picking up 3 for 21 in his four overs, and Jon-Jon Smuts allowing just 19 runs from his allocation of overs, the Lions’ struggles with the bat continued as they limped to 127 for nine.
Faced with a meagre target, the Warriors clearly had their eye on the bonus point, and were unable to reset their ambitions when Bjorn Fortuin bowled key batsman Colin Ackermann and Dwaine Pretorius rifled through the middle order.
Pretorius (3 for 19) had both Colin Ingram and Gihahn Cloete well caught by Alviro Petersen at slip, and then trapped Smuts lbw to leave the Warriors 34 for five.
Christiaan Jonker (45 off 30 balls) pulled the visitors right back into the game as he smashed four quick sixes - one of which sailed into a neighbouring block of flats.
But having hauled the required run-rate back down to less than seven runs per over, both Jonker and Clyde Fortuin got carried away and were dismissed attempting further boundaries off Eddie Leie.
The leg-spinner went on to finish off the tail and record figures of 4 for 32.