Smuts hits unbeaten ton in memorable Warriors chase

Jon Jon Smuts of the Warriors celebrates his 100

Jon Jon Smuts of the Warriors celebrates his 100

AN unbeaten century from captain Jon-Jon Smuts helped the Warriors pull off one of the great T20 Challenge victories as they successfully chased down 217 to beat the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in their clash at Buffalo Park in East London on Wednesday.

The right-handed opener made an unbeaten 107 (58 balls, 5 fours, 9 sixes) and received fine support from Colin Ingram, who made 55 (26 balls, 6 fours, 3 sixes), and Christiaan Jonker (36 off 20 balls).

Smut’s final total was a career best effort, while Ingram’s half-century was the quickest of the season as the host secured the second highest successful chase in franchise T20 history – only second to the 224/5 made by the Cape Cobras against the Titans in 2010/11.

All the visiting bowlers travelled, with recent Standard Bank Proteas cap Keshav Maharaj going for 39 in his two overs.

However, things looked far more positive at the halfway stage of the game after the Durbanites had amassed 216/5 after winning the toss and batting.

After losing Cameron Delport (5) early, skipper Morne van Wyk and Kevin Pietersen shared in a record second-wicket stand to rebuild the innings.

The pair put on 145, equalling the previous mark set by Hashim Amla and Stiaan van Zyl for the Cobras against the Lions back in 2013/14.

Van Wyk eventually fell for 77 (52 balls, 12 fours), while former England star Pietersen blasted 81 (46 balls, 4 fours, 6 sixes).

Basheer Walters claimed 3/46, while Smuts was outstanding in the context as he conceded only 23 in his four overs.

The result means the Warriors stayed second on 27 points, two fewer than the Multiply Titans, but with a game in hand.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, slipped from fourth to fifth with just one game to play.