SHADLEY VAN SCHALKWYK starred with ball and bat for the VKB Knights on a low-scoring opening day of their Sunfoil Series clash against the BuildNat Cape Cobras in Paarl on Thursday.

On a see-saw day at Boland Park, a total of 16 wickets fell, with the hosts first bundled out for 154, before they then roared back to restrict the visitors to 137/6.

Seamer Van Schalkwyk was at the heart of everything for the log-leaders as he first took 4/40 in 14 overs and then ended the day batting on an unbeaten 29, the second highest score for his side.

Top wicket-taker in the competition, Duanne Olivier, also continued his excellent form with 4/43 for the Knights as they dominated the opening half of the day after they lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.

It was the perfect start to the penultimate round of matches in what is boiling down to a photo finish to the season.

All the Cobras’ batsmen struggled, with their top-score coming from Justin Ontong (38) as they struggled to cope with Van Schalkwyk and Olivier, who now has 43 wickets in 2016/17.

The Central franchise began their reply solidly enough as they reached 31/0 thanks to Luthando Mnyanda (23) and Michael Erlank (32), the biggest contributor of the innings so far.

But things went wrong from there with franchise debutant Kyle Simmonds taking 2/42 with his left-arm spin and Jason Smith taking 2/17 to leave the Knights training by 17 at stumps and only the bowlers to come.

Michael Owen Smith