The Warriors lost it on all fronts on Wednesday night as their hopes of staying in contention for the Standard Bank Pro20 cricket series disintegrated with an amateurish display.
The Warriors lost it on all fronts on Wednesday night as their hopes of staying in contention for the Standard Bank Pro20 cricket series disintegrated with an amateurish display against the Free State Eagles at Sahara Oval St George's.
Sending the visitors into bat, the Warriors bowled with ill discipline to concede 173 runs in 20 overs, and their top order then collapsed in a heap. Reduced to 46 for six at one stage, the Warriors finally wobbled to 65 all out to lose by 110 runs. It was the second-lowest score in the competition, slightly bettering the Titans' 47 against the same opponents two seasons ago.
Three losses on the trot have consigned the Warriors to also-rans in the competition, while Free State, playing only their second game, lifted their chances of ending in the top four by registering their first victory.
An excellent crowd of nearly 9 000 fans turned up at St George's for the game and not even a shower of rain towards the end of the Free State innings could dampen their spirits.
However, they were quickly deflated by the pathetic batting of the Warriors, who lost two wickets in the first over and three more in the sixth over. Among the dismissals were two run-outs, just another example of the home team pressing the self-destruct button as they succumbed like timid lambs.
The Eagles' batsmen took full advantage of batting first and quickly had the Warriors' bowlers under pressure despite an excellent opening spell by Tyron Henderson, who conceded 11 runs in three overs and finally ended with a highly commendable analysis of 4-1-16-0.
While skipper Robin Peterson and Justin Kreusch tried hard, they were not able to stem the flood of runs as Mfuneko Ngam, Brent Kops and Lyall Meyer all proved expensive.
Morne van Wyk (26 off 19 balls) and Jonathan Beukes (33 off 26 balls) set the trend for the Eagles' innings with an opening stand of 46 in six overs, and the rest of the Free Staters played typically bludgeoning Pro20 knocks. Nobody made anything substantial, but they all scored at better than a run a ball, finishing with a flourish as Roger Telemachus (34 off 16 balls two fours and three sixes) smacked 20 runs off the 20th over, bowled by Meyer.
From then on, the evening got only more depressing for the hapless Warriors and their luckless fans.