West Indian all rounder Andre Russell’s 21-ball 48 inspired the Chevrolet Knights to a clinical 35-run victory over the Unlimited Titans in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge encounter at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.
The Knights, who last week defeated Chevrolet Warriors, were propelled to an imposing total of 179 for seven thanks to Russell’s fireworks, although Darren Sammy (3-0-21-3) was able to stem the flow late on as he produced three wickets in four balls during the 18th over to keep the visitors in check.
However, the Titans struggled to keep pace with the required run rate almost from the get-go, and despite a valiant undefeated 65 from opener Dean Elgar, the hosts always appeared likely to fall short in the face of some disciplined Knights bowling, and could only manage 144 for five in reply.
The second successive triumph for Sarel Cilliers’s men sees them join the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Nashua Cape Cobras at the summit of the table on nine points, while the Titans are still to record their first win of the campaign, and sit in fifth place above the hapless Warriors only on net run rate.
The late flurry of wickets in the Knights’ innings had given the home crowd some hope, as the final total appeared to be little more than par on a good batting pitch. And when Henry Davids (29) blasted Malusi Siboto (4-0-27-1) for two sixes in the fourth over, the run chase had garnered some useful momentum.
But Russell, spurred on by his display with the bat, effected the crucial breakthrough two overs later as he cleaned up the stumps of the Titans’ skipper. Roelof van der Merwe (1) then skied his second delivery into the hands of Dillon du Preez, and with that the home side were reduced to 42 for two.