Port Elizabeth: Openers Davey Jacobs and Ashwell Prince shared a 147-run partnership off just 94 ball to help Warriors beat Central Districts by six wickets in their Champions League Twenty20 Group A match here on Saturday.
After Central Districts opted to bat, Warriors restricted them to 175 for three in 20 overs and then chased down the target with five balls to spare at the St George’s Park.
Skipper Jacobs (74) and Prince (64) laid the foundation for Warriors’ successful run-chase.
With three wins in as many matches, Warriors have now virtually progressed to the semifinal, while Central Districts who have failed to win even a single match in the tournament, have been eliminated from the race for a final-four berth.
Chasing 175 to win, Warriors started aggressively and reached 50-mark in just five overs, with Jacobs and Prince smashing the Districts’ bowlers.
Jacobs clobbered two fours off Micheal Mason in the first over of their innings and then hit Adam Milne for a four and a six in the very next over.
Pacer Doug Bracewell was then brought into attack but was proved expensive as Jacobs hit two fours and two sixes to accumulate 21 runs.
George Worker and Mason tried to slow down the run-rate but skipper Jacobs was simply unstoppable as he blasted a four and a six in the eighth over to score 13 runs.
Jacobs took his side across the 100-run mark by hitting a six off Bracewell in the 10th over to add to the frustration of Districts’ bowlers.
Boundaries flew thick and fast as Jacobs and Prince dealt only in fours and sixes to take their side closer to target, scoring another 45 runs in the five overs to make the scoreline read 145 for no loss in 15 overs.
With no option left, Districts captain Jamie How gave the ball to part-timer Kieran Noema-Barnett.
Barnett justified the decision by removing Jacobs, whose ambitious shot found Mason near the rope. Jacobs struck five fours and six sixes in his 47-ball stay.
In the 18th over, Bracewell got rid off other opener Prince, who finally hold out to Peter Ingram at mid wicket.
Looking for a six, Prince ended up giving a straight catch to Ingram as Districts fought back, reducing Warriors to 151 for three in 17 overs.
Needing 25 runs from 18 balls, new man Craig Thyssen hit two fours and a six off Bracewell to again swung the match in Warriors’ favour.
In the 19th over, Thyssen smashed a huge six and a four off Noema-Barnett to take his side inside the victory lap. But just as he was getting prepared to finish the match, Thyssen fell to Noema-Barnett.
Experienced Mark Boucher then came in and completed the formalities with a huge six off Bracewell on the first ball of the last over, while Johan Botha remained unconquered.
Warriors scored 181 for four in 19.1 overs.
Earlier, captain and opener How cracked a strokeful 88 to help Central Districts reach 175 for three after the side were reduced to 76 for three in 10 overs.
How blasted a 55-ball 88, bejewelled with 12 fours and three sixes, while Noema-Barnett (53 n.o.) and Brad Patton (24) made some useful contributions to help the Districts cross the 150-mark.
Districts paid the price for their sloppy fielding and pathetic bowling to succumb to their third defeat in as many matches.
Young batsman Brad Patton gave his captain able support with a patient 27-ball 24 as the duo shared 64-runs from 38 balls to take the Districts score past 50.
How clobbered four fours off Theron in the second over and three fours off Tsotsobe in the third over of the innings to accumulate 28 runs.
After a brief lull, How took South African pacer Makhaya Ntini to task this time, hitting him for three fours in the sixth over.
Warriors introduced their experienced spinner Nicky Boje in the seventh over and the gamble worked as the off-spinner caught Patton in front of the stumps to make the score 64 for two.
Patton, who was looking dangerous in the company of his captain, struck five fours in his brief innings.
Mathew Sinclair next came in to support his captain, but the experienced right-hander lasted only nine balls.
Botha pitched the ball in the middle which turned and found Sinclair (6) plumb in front of the stumps.
Noema-Barnett, who came in after Sinclair’s departure, joined How and blasted Justin Kreusch for a six in the 14th over to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Both How and Barnett accelerated in the end to accumulate 70 runs in the last six overs, mostly dealing in fours and sixes but 175 later proved insufficient.