Knight Riders’ big weekend keeps season alive
CRICKET: Just as soon as the initial campaign of the RobScan Knight Riders appeared to be over, a big weekend has lifted the DDBBL newcomers firmly into the finals picture.
Needing to win both games of their double header at Highfields Sports Park, the Knight Riders duly obliged, moving into third spot in the process.
It started against fellow newcomers Grammar Blazers, where a dynamic bowling attack saw the Blazers restricted to just 8/91.
Alex Willmett (3/12), Sam Winton (2/22) and Hemal Shah (2/13) proved unstoppable.
The Knight Riders were able to chase down the total within 14 overs, led by 37 runs from Kris Glass, to score by eight wickets.
They backed it up immediately after against the Valley Raptors, this time batting first and posting a big total.
They reached 4/175 from their 20 overs, with Glass scoring an unbeaten 73 from just 33 balls and Jason Cubit posting 58.
The Raptors were always behind in their chase, with Lyle Teske's innings of 49 the only highlight as they fell short by 41 runs, with Brodie Clews taking 3/18.
The pair of wins moves them into a three-way tie for third with each side having one game left to play, however their run rate puts them in front of both the Raptors and Lightning.
Captain Glass said it was a reward for solid play throughout the opening two rounds.
"We were pretty confident in the first two games, we just didn't finish off in both instances," Glass said.
"We'd played well up until the weekend, and this time we were able to make improvements and seal those games.
"We were quite lucky in the fact we bowled well quite early (against Grammar) and were able to limit them. We got a good start with the bat which made it a bit easier than what it actually was.
"We've got an underrated attack. Sam Winton was a Queensland Country quick who has been great up top and at the death for us.
"Our spinners have really come into their own. Corey Mays and Alex Willmett can stick to a plan and have been good in regards to fields and discipline."
The Knight Riders can seal their spot in the finals with a win over the Aztecs on October 11, with Glass hoping they can keep control of their own destiny.
"We have a few guys that have rep cricket duties this weekend, so hopefully they can stay in a bit of form," he said.
"The last game is pivotal. By way of the ladder, a win gets us in and our destiny remains in our own hands."
The Aztecs, had a mixed weekend with a win and loss from their two games.
The Hip Pocket Rockets got the better of them to the tune of 41 runs.
A remarkable knock of 91 runs from 64 balls from Pieter van der Kooij saw them power to 4/158 from their innings.
In response, the Aztecs were dismissed for 117, with Shaun McCarthy, Luke Neale and Michael Sippel all adding two wickets.
The Aztecs were able to find their best with the bat in their fixture against the Livewired Lightning, scoring a 36-run victory.
Chris Gillam belted 75 and Kurtley Nielsen added 40 as they posted 5/174.
Troy Gurski (63 runs) tried to lift the Lightning in their run chase, however two wickets apiece to Robert Fitzgerald, Daniel Wilson and George Casey restricted them to 9/128.
The Hip Pocket Rockets complete a perfect round, by downing the Blazers.
Luke Neale's unbeaten 65 runs powered them to 5/147, as Shaun McCarthy showed his class with the ball, with figures of 4/5 helping dismiss Grammar for 104.
LADDER: Rockets (3-1, 0.8969%), Aztecs (3-1, 0.1922%), Knight Riders (2-2, 0.9774%), Raptors (2-2, 0.0900%), Lightning (2-2, -0.8764%), Blazers (0-4, -1.2733%)