Smuts century sets Warriors up for another win

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 12: JJ Smuts of the Warriors celebrate scoring a century during the Momentum One Day Cup match between BuildNat Cape Cobras and Warriors at PPC Newlands on March 12, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 12: JJ Smuts of the Warriors celebrate scoring a century during the Momentum One Day Cup match between BuildNat Cape Cobras and Warriors at PPC Newlands on March 12, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

JON-JON SMUTS struck a second successive century to script another vital win for the Warriors in their quest to reach the Momentum One-Day Cup play-offs as they clinched a tense six-run win over the VKB Knights at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

The home captain, who made a career-best unbeaten 173 against the BuildNat Cape Cobras on Sunday, followed that up with 132 (144 balls, 8 fours, 5 sixes) as the men from the Eastern Cape amassed 284/8.

Opposite number Pite van Bijon then lead a strong reply with his 84 (104 balls, 10 fours), but the visitors were restricted to 278/8.

The Warriors had won the toss and batted at the start, and after a 46-run opening stand, they lost Gihahn Cloete (22) and Colin Ingram (8) in quick succession.

Colin Ackermann then joined his captain and struck a fine 86 (96 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes), sharing in a record 151-run third wicket stand for the Warriors against the Knights in the process.

After he fell, followed by Smuts after he notched up his sixth List A hundred, the home side lost five wickets in the last 13 balls to end their inning disappointingly.

Mbulelo Budaza was the pick of the bowlers with 4/69.

But the Warriors bowlers struck thrice in the first five overs and then claimed the prize wicket of David Miller (18), who was struck on the helmet by a Sisanda Magala bouncer first ball, in the 10th over, leaving the Knights on 48/4.

Luthando Mnyanda led the recovery with 43, before Aubrey Swanepoel (76 off 77 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) then provided support for Van Biljon. And after the captain fell, Swanepoel battled hard right to the end, but fell just short.

Andre Birch was the pick of the bowlers with 3/45, while there were two wickets each for Magala (2/61) and Ackermann (2/37).

The result left the Warriors in second position, three points behind the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.