Challenge accepted

2014-10-13 00:00

IT’S been many a season since the Dolphins delivered such a sublime performance as they did in their opening One-Day Cup clash against the Titans in Centurion on Friday. They won by five wickets but it was how they met the challenge and how they went about ensuring the win that makes them worth following as the season progresses.

They bowled first, gave away 340 runs and then, thanks to some brief rain, were asked to knock off 301 runs in 42 overs at a rate of 7,16.

That they achieved the target with five balls to spare and were never fazed by the asking rate — even when it went above 10 — set the tone for the season and threw out a noticeable statement to the rest of the franchises.

The win though is summed up in one name — Morné van Wyk. The Dolphins skipper elected to chase after winning the toss and despite what lay ahead, he stood tall, a colossus for his team, opening the batting, pacing the innings and carrying his bat for a magnificent 121* from 112 balls, (14x4, 2x6).

This was his 21st List A hundred and none could have been better and produced at a more vital time. Magnificent, superb, brilliant — there are no words to describe an innings that will live in the memory for a long while, whether seen at the ground or on television. It was a master-class in discipline, shot selection and most importantly, how to pace an innings.

“It was a great wicket to bat on where you got value for your strokes,” said Van Wyk. “It was a big score and a big task given to us but we knew that we would be in with a shout if the top four fired and those coming after could contribute as well.”

For once, it went according to plan for the Dolphins. “We accepted the challenge and were scoring faster than the Titans at one stage,” said Van Wyk.

“We lost only one wicket at the end of the powerplay (nine overs) and this allowed the batsmen to stay at the crease and build an innings.”

This was the way to play 50-over cricket and Van Wyk was the conductor, marshalling his troops on the frontline as he led the charge. “While it’s great to win, we cannot always play this way and be rewarded when chasing big totals,” he said. “Our bowlers and fielders will feel they can do better and this time around, the batsmen bailed them out of a predicament. As the season moves on, there will be times when the bowlers have to do it for the batsmen.”

The key was Van Wyk’s experience. He’s been around the block, making his List A debut in 1997/98. He was never flustered, hardly broke a sweat and was always in control. Listening to the commentary on television, former Dolphins player Neil Johnson said it best — “Just look at Morné van Wyk. He knows what he is doing, he’s in control and he is taking his team home. He’s been around a long time and he knows exactly how to deal with the situation. He’s not even breaking a sweat.”

Next up, the Dolphins welcome the Lions to Kingsmead this Wednesday, the match starting at 3 pm.

SCOREBOARD

Titans innings

H Davids c van Wyk b Alexander5

H Kuhn lbw b Alexander19

T de Bruyn c van Jaarsveld b Frylinck

108

D Elgar c Abbott b Frylinck32

F Behardien not out105

G van Buuren b Tahir5

M Mosehle c van Jaarsveld b Frylinck45

R van der Merwe not out0

Extras (b3, lb9, w8, nb1)21

TOTAL (for six wickets in 50 overs)

340

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-57, 3-163, 4-179, 5-193, 6-336 Bowling: Abbott 10-2-73-0 (2w), Alexander 8-0-58-2 (1w), Frylinck 10-0-62-3 (2w), Smit 5-0-37-0, Delport 3-0-17-0 (1w), Tahir 10-0-60-1, Phehlukwayo 4-1-21-0 (1nb, 2w).

Dolphins innings (target: 301 from 42 overs d/l)

M van Wyk not out121

C Delport c de Bruyn b Mbhalati24

C Chetty run out (Richards)10

V van Jaarsveld c van der Merwe

b Richards62

D Smit b de Lange22

K Zondo c Elgar b Mbhalati32

R Frylinck not out1

Extras (b1, lb6, w22)29

TOTAL (for five wickets in 41.1 overs)

301

Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-79, 3-188, 4-241, 5-297

Bowling: Davids 5-0-36-0 (1w), Mbhalati 9-0-66-2 (4w), De Lange 8.1-0-50-1 (3w), Richards 8-0-57-1 (7w), Van der Merwe 7-0-53-0 (2w), Behardien 4-0-32-0

Result: The Dolphins won by five wickets.

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