The Warriors utilised the most thrilling avenue possible to keep their adrenaline-fuelled dash to the RAM SLAM T20 playoff on track, as they beat the Knights by six wickets at the Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein off the last ball of the game.
The Warriors went into the last over needing eight runs to win, but lost top-scorer Somila Seyibokwe to Andre Russell’s second delivery to leave eight required from four balls.
Christiaan Jonker’s boundary off the penultimate delivery left two needed from the last ball, and Jonker duly pulled it off to record the Warriors‘ second win in three days.
They can now qualify for Wednesday’s playoff by beating the Lions at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday, and could even grab a home play-off if they win by a sufficient margin. This match will be televised live on SS2.
The Warriors’ task was made all the harder by Russell putting in one of his trademark all-round performances, bludgeoning 52 from 24 balls in a total of 170 for five, and then removing Gihahn Cloete and Colin Ingram in his first two overs with the ball.
Rilee Rossouw (43) and Theunis de Bruyn (36) had also contributed to the strong Knights score, which was only reined in by the dismissal of Russell midway through the 18th over and some tight bowling at the death.
The Warriors’ campaign looked dead in the water when they lost their top three, including the prolific Colin Ackermann (27) for 56 runs in the ninth over of their chase, but Seyibokwe showed his potential value to the side with a sublime 73 from 57 balls.
The 28-year-old was called into the Warriors side for the first time in the campaign on Wednesday after striking a career-best T20 score of 78 for Border last month, and his four sixes and four fours pulled the visitors back into the game.
Jon-Jon Smuts’ contribution was also crucial, as he backed up his match-winning 61 on Wednesday with an unbeaten 43 from 27 balls.
The duo added a spectacular 107 runs for the fourth wicket in under 11 overs, and although Seyibokwe fell with the finishing line in sight, Jonker made sure that the Warriors travel to Johannesburg this weekend for a virtual quarter-final.