Birch secures Warriors a T20 Challenge home SF

Andrew Birch (Gallo Images)
Andrew Birch (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Andrew Birch delivered one of the best spells of the season as the Warriors stole second spot on the final CSA T20 Challenge table and with it a home semi-final after they ousted the Knights by four wickets in East London on Sunday.

The medium-pacer grabbed four for 10 in four sensational overs, one of which was a maiden, that helped restrict the visitors to the lowest score of the season – a woeful 96 for seven at Buffalo Park.

Gihahn Cloete’s run-a-ball 40 then helped the home side chase down the target with 17 balls to spare, although there were several jitters along the way.

However, the Warriors’ superb bowling display was enough to help them overtake the Cape Cobras on the table and with it earn a home-semi-final against the same opponents, losers to the Dolphins in round 10, on Wednesday.

The Knights came into the match with nothing more that pride to play four after failing to win any of their previous nine games – five of which were washed out.

But bar Ryan McLaren, they showed little fight after losing the toss and being put into bat first.

Birch was brilliant as he removed openers Shadley van Schalkwyk (4) and Patrick Kruger (11) in a stellar fourth over, before young Jade de Klerk (2/17), Sisanda Magala (1/20) and Jon-Jon Smuts (0/19) kept things extremely tight through the middle.

The Knights slumped to 38 for seven at one stage, before McLaren’s unbeaten 39, support by 21 from Tshepo Ntuli at least saved their side utter embarrassment – the pair putting on an unbroken 58 for the eighth wicket.

Cloete’s effort helped the Warriors quickly reach 45 for one in the seventh over, but Ntuli’s spirited two for 11 caused some nerves, alongside a few other tidy spells.

But the target was too low for any wobble to stop the Warriors as they moved on to secure a home semi-final.

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