The Knights racked up an imposing 184/8 off their 20 overs after Cobras captain Justin Ontong won the toss and decided to bowl under cloudy skies.
So the Western Cape side needed to put together meaningful partnerships from the start of their innings, but that never materialised. They lost their first three wickets for just 32 runs with less than five overs gone, and that included their big names such as Richard Levi and Ontong.
Even after new opener Cebo Tshiki was dismissed by the express pace of Marchant de Lange for a duck, Cobras coach Paul Adams would’ve been hopeful that Levi could make some inroads into the 185-run victory target.
And the powerful right-hander didn’t disappoint initially as he got stuck into Dillon du Preez in the third over, hitting him for two fours and a six in three balls.
But after drilling De Lange off his pads through midwicket for his fifth boundary, Levi was undone by a magnificent slower ball by the former Proteas pacemen to be bowled for 25 off 16 (4x4, 1x6).
The Cobras needed their skipper Ontong to keep the innings together, but the veteran right-hander missed an in-ducker from Du Preez to be trapped lbw for one, and that was virtually the end of their challenge.
West Indian master-blaster Kieron Pollard was the last card that Adams had to play, and he received good support from Keegan Petersen after Jason Smith was out for 12 when Tshepo Ntuli got an lbw decision, which left the Cobras at 53/4.
Pollard and Petersen combined for a 23-run partnership, but they were unable to score quickly enough to have a realistic chance. Then Patrick Kruger, who top-scored with 74 for the Knights, hurt the Cobras with the ball as well when Pollard went for a big hit, but held out to De Lange at long-off for just five.
Petersen did well to get to 39 (29 balls, 6x4), but with the pressure mounting and only the tail to bat with him, the Bolander was forced to try and increase the pace, but succumbed in the cause when he swiped Kruger straight to Rudi Second at midwicket to leave the Cobras reeling at 88/6.
George Linde and Rory Kleinveldt threatened to steal the game away from the Knights with a late burst, with Kleinveldt hitting Shadley van Schalkwyk for three boundaries. But the former Proteas paceman went for one big hit too many, and was caught by Second on the midwicket boundary for 17 off nine balls.
Linde kept going and smashed three sixes, but with 39 to win off the last three overs, he was run out for 30 by Pite van Biljon. Tshepo Moreki followed the next ball, falling to De Lange (3/17).
Earlier, debutant Kruger smashed 74 off just 49 balls to power the Knights to a highly impressive 184/8 off their 20 overs.
The hard-hitting Kruger, who hails from Kimberley, set the tone for the innings with Rudi Second in a 72-run opening stand off just 8.5 overs. The 21-year-old Kruger smashed seven fours and four sixes, and was only dismissed in the 16th over of the innings, which allowed the incoming Knights batsmen to play with freedom.
It was left-arm spinner Linde, though, who made the crucial breakthroughs when he clean-bowled Proteas limited-overs star David Miller for two and Knights captain Pite van Biljon for 17.
The tall Linde returned respectable figures of 2/34 in his four overs, but apart from Kleinveldt (0/15 off three) and Kieron Pollard (1/29 in four), the rest of the bowlers all went for 10 per over or more.
Diego Rosier gave the Knights some much-needed impetus in the middle stages when he clubbed 27 off 12 (2x4, 2x6), while De Lange’s breezy cameo at the end (22 off 10 balls, 3x4, 1x6) ensured that Nicky Bojé’s team would go past the 180 mark.
Original source: Cobras’ batting lets them down again