Cape Town - Andrew Birch delivered one of the best spells of
the season as the Warriors stole second spot on the final CSA T20
Challenge table and with it a home semi-final after they ousted the
Knights by four wickets in East London on Sunday.
The medium-pacer grabbed four for 10 in four
sensational overs, one of which was a maiden, that helped restrict the
visitors to the lowest score of the season – a woeful 96 for seven at
Gihahn Cloete’s run-a-ball 40 then helped the
home side chase down the target with 17 balls to spare, although there
were several jitters along the way.
However, the Warriors’ superb bowling display was
enough to help them overtake the Cape Cobras on
the table and with it earn a home-semi-final against the same opponents,
losers to the Dolphins in round
10, on Wednesday.
The Knights came into the match with nothing more
that pride to play four after failing to win any of their previous nine
games – five of which were washed out.
But bar Ryan McLaren, they showed little fight after losing the toss and being put into bat first.
Birch was brilliant as he removed openers Shadley
van Schalkwyk (4) and Patrick Kruger (11) in a stellar fourth over,
before young Jade de Klerk (2/17), Sisanda Magala (1/20) and Jon-Jon
Smuts (0/19) kept things extremely tight through
The Knights slumped to 38 for seven at one stage,
before McLaren’s unbeaten 39, support by 21 from Tshepo Ntuli at least
saved their side utter embarrassment – the pair putting on an unbroken
58 for the eighth wicket.
Cloete’s effort helped the Warriors quickly reach
45 for one in the seventh over, but Ntuli’s spirited two for 11 caused
some nerves, alongside a few other tidy spells.
But the target was too low for any wobble to stop the Warriors as they moved on to secure a home semi-final.