Johannesburg - Dillon du Preez’s four-wicket haul set the Knights
up for a bonus-point victory over the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers that
kept them in touch in the race for play-off positions in the One-Day Cup.
Du Preez struck at crucial junctures to halt the Lions
batting order and restrict them to 227 for nine, before Gerhardt Abrahams, Rudi
Second and Pite van Biljon stroked half-centuries to see the Knights to a
seven-wicket victory in just 38 overs.
The five-pointer lifted the Knights on to 13 points, and
although they did not improve on their fifth place, they are now within reach
of third spot with two games to play.
Knights captain Werner Coetsee won the toss and elected to
bowl first, but the Lions made a solid start as Stephen Cook (34) and Rassie
van der Dussen put on 54 for the first wicket before the hosts reached 124 for
one in the 28th over of the innings.
Van der Dussen (57) and Alviro Petersen (39) had given
themselves time to get in ahead of a late push in the innings, but that didn’t
work out when Du Preez dismissed Petersen and Temba Bavuma in consecutive overs
and then the Lions lost three wickets without adding a run.
Du Preez later added the scalp of Hardus Viljoen, and
although Thami Tsolekile (34) and Kagiso Rabada (22) briefly revived the
innings, Du Preez (4 for 34) dismissed the latter and Malusi Siboto took care
of the former.
That left the tail to navigate the final overs and ensured
the Knights faced a meagre target.
Lefa Mosena fell to Viljoen early in the chase, but Abrahams
blazed his way to fifty off just 42 balls and shared a 107-run stand for the
second wicket with Rudi Second, who provided the innings with stability.
Both Abrahams (62) and Second (55) were bowled by Eddie
Leie, but the damage had already been done and Van Biljon (51 not out) saw the
Knights home with Obus Pienaar (25 not out).