Cape Town - The Warriors ensured that the race for places in the Ram Slam T20 qualifier will go right down to the wire as Jon-Jon Smuts’ unbeaten 61 set them up for a 12-run victory over the Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park.
Knowing that they would need to win their last three games to have a realistic chance of scraping into the play-off game, the Warriors made four changes but ultimately triumphed due to a more cohesive performance.
While the Cobras boasted the two standout performances in the match, with Mthokozisi Shezi taking 5 for 34 as the Warriors made 153 for eight and Wayne Parnell batting through the Cobras innings for an unbeaten 74, the hosts put in a consummate bowling display to take advantage of a slowing wicket and restrict their visitors to 141 for seven.
The result took the Warriors into fourth place on the table with 14 points - four behind the Dolphins and six behind the Cobras, who have both played an extra game.
With the Dolphins hosting the Cobras on Friday, whoever loses that game will leave themselves vulnerable to being overhauled by the Warriors, who travel to the Knights and the Lions in their final two games.
Although a passing shower delayed the warm-up on Wednesday evening, the game got underway on time and the Cobras made the better start as they limited the Warriors, who won a useful toss and elected to bat, to 38 for three in the power play.
Colin Ackermann (34) was once again responsible for reviving the Warriors innings on his return from injury, but Smuts’ innings proved the key as he struck three sixes in a 40-ball knock, eclipsing the average strike rate in the game by far.
Shezi made sure that the batsmen at the other end were unable to support Smuts late on as he took two wickets in each of his last two overs, but the Warriors total still surpassed the ground average for teams batting first.
The Cobras needed a few contributions if they were going to chase it down in challenging conditions, but Justin Kemp’s 20 was the second highest total.
Parnell proved that his match-winning knock against the Lions was no fluke, but he was unable to provide the firepower required to single-handedly get the Cobras home, managing just one six in his 60-ball innings.