Cape Town - The Knights handed out an eight-wicket bonus point thrashing to the Sunfoil Dolphins with 7 overs to spare in the opening match of the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge double-header at St. George’s Park on Saturday.
The second match features the Warriors, the home side, against the log leaders, The Unlimited Titans.
Today’s Knights victory has major implications as the franchises head into the final rounds of qualification for the knock-out stages. The Knights now have 9 points and they and the Dolphins, who have 18 points but only one more league match to play, are the two teams so far who cannot catch the Titans at the top of the log.
The other consequence is that all of the Warriors, the Cape Cobras and the bizhub Highveld Lions have more than a theoretical chance of claiming second place from the Dolphins.
In addition to the Warriors match later today the Cobras and the Lions go head to head at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
Having now won two matches in a row the Knights must be reflecting ruefully on some of their earlier losses including the Super Over defeat to the Warriors at the PPC Newlands double-header in their opening match and their one-run home defeat to the Titans.
The Dolphins, having won their first four matches in a row, have now confirmed a serious loss of form that has seen them lose four of their last five matches – the exception being the wash out against the Warriors at Buffalo Park.
Their batsmen failed to assess the slowness of the pitch today on which strokes played with a horizontal bat were often perilous.
Malusi Siboto at one stage had figures of 3/5 in 3 overs after both Morne van Wyk and Andile Phehlukwayo were bowled off the inside edge and Kyle Nipper was caught behind off a bottom edge.
In addition, the Dolphins running between the wickets was chaotic with two needless run outs, a near mid-pitch collision and several other narrow escapes.
Their total of 82 was never going to be enough to give them a semblance of a chance in spite of the early wickets of the Knights big guns, Rilee Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks.
Theunis de Bruyn (42* off 38 balls, 3 fours and 3 sixes) and Aubrey Swanepoel (30* off 27 balls, 4 fours and a six) quickly took control of the innings with their unbroken partnership of 75 in 10.1 overs.
The two played the pitch conditions rather better than their opponents, scoring the bulk of their runs straight down the ground.
In truth the Dolphins were outplayed in all three disciplines with Sibuto being named RAM Deliverer of the Day and De Bruyn RAM Slammer of the Day.
The Knights may be out of the running but they are likely to have a major influence on who does qualify if they continue with this form.
They have one of the best top three in the competition in Rossouw, Hendricks and De Bruyn plus the bubbling personality of Andre Russell who is clearly a major source of inspiration.