Pite Van Biljon scored a vital half-century as the Knights pulled off a stunning run chase to narrowly edge out the Cape Cobras by three wickets late on the final day of their Sunfoil Series match in Bloemfontein on Monday. The Cobras had been bowled out for 291 in their second innings just before lunch, holding a lead of 256 runs. This after pace duo of Shadley Van Schalkwyk (4/21) and Duanne Olivier (3/41) ripped through the visitor’s middle and lower order, claiming the last six wickets for 29 runs. Justin Ontong top-scored with 57 (85 balls, eight fours).
Van Biljon then scored 82 not out (140 balls, 10 fours) to hold the Knights’ second innings together as the hosts reached 258/7 at the Mangaung Oval. The win re-ignited the Knights’ title chances as they collected 18.44 points from the match to move above the Highveld Lions into second place on the log, just 11.64 points behind the log-leading Titans with two matches left to play. The Knights were left 70 overs to chase down the winning total, but needed just 60.3 overs to complete the victory.
Their run-chase was initially a touch rocky with the early loss of Reeza Hendricks (8), Michael Erlank (3) and Rudi Second (18), although Letlotlo Sesele (45) did provide the innings with some stability. Van Biljon and Tumelo Bodibe (28) then set up the run-chase with a 66-run fifth-wicket stand, before Van Biljon and Werner Coetsee (36) hammered 61 runs for the sixth wicket off just 10 overs to take their team to the brink of victory. Wayne Parnell helped the Cobras claw their way back into the match when he dismissed Coetsee and Van Schalkwyk (2) in consecutive overs to set up a tense finish.
But Van Biljon and Malusi Siboto (6 not out) took their team to the finish line. Parnell ended with 3/68 and Lizaad Williams nabbed 3/49.