Smuts stars in Warriors bonus-point win

Jon-Jon Smuts (C) of the Warriors  (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Jon-Jon Smuts (C) of the Warriors (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Jon-Jon Smuts returned the remarkable figures of 4 for 4 as the Warriors got off the mark in the Momentum One-Day Cup with a 64-run victory over the VKB Knights at the Diamond Oval on Saturday.

On a slow pitch that suited the spinners, Smuts enjoyed the most success among a successful Warriors attack as they bowled the Knights out for just 121.

The Warriors had appeared likely to register their third straight defeat after they were bowled out for 185, but instead they walked away from the fixture with a bonus-point win thanks to the spin trio of Smuts, Simon Harmer and Colin Ingram.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Warriors innings was a case of many minor contributions, with nobody managing more than Smuts’ 33 at the top of the order.

No partnership passed the 38 put on by Andrew Birch (24) and Sisanda Magala (23) for the eighth wicket, and the difficult batting conditions were summed up by Dillon du Preez’s figures of 3 for 18 from 10 overs.

Shadley van Schalkwyk took 3/37 in 8.5 overs, while Marchant de Lange was the only bowler to concede more than five runs per over.

The Knights were on track to overhaul their target when they reached 81/2 after 21 overs, but from that moment on the Warriors spinners took control of the game.

Ingram dismissed Leus du Plooy and Diego Rosier, before Smuts claimed the key wicket of top scorer Pite van Biljon for 43 as the Knights crashed to 97/5.

The wickets continued to tumble from that point on, as Harmer removed Van Schalkwyk and Aubrey Swanepoel, and Smuts quickly cleaned up the tail.

The result left all of the franchises evenly placed in the early rounds of the competition, with only the Dolphins registering two wins thus far.

They will host the BuildNat Cobras at the City Oval on Sunday, while the Multiply Titans take on the bizhub Highveld Lions at SuperSport Park.