Delport hits a winner

2013-03-09 00:00

IT was a night of miracles at Kingsmead when everything finally fell into place for the Dolphins in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge clash against the Knights last night.

For one thing, it wasn’t raining on a Friday night and the 2 600 spectators were given a rare treat as Dolphins opener Cameron Delport produced an innings to remember — notching his maiden T20 century as he finished unbeaten on 103 from 78 balls, with nine boundaries and five maximums.

He became the first Dolphins player to score a domestic T20 ton, and is only the fifth player to reach the milestone at domestic level after Henry Davids, Loots Bosman, Quinton de Kock and Khaya Zondo.

Along the way, he reached 50 from 29 balls, the fastest of the season in the competition as he saw the Dolphins through to 179-2, easily surpassing their previous best of 136.

He was involved in a second-wicket partnership of 83 with Ravi Bopara (30) and a savage unbroken third-wicket stand of 80 in 7.5 overs with David Miller, who raced to 39 not out from 23 balls.

For the Knights, only Johan van der Wath and Shadley van Schalkwyk managed to grab a wicket each.

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener rang the changes from the nine-wicket drubbing by the Warriors in East London, bringing in David Miller, Divan van Wyk, Yusuf Abdullah, Keshav Maharaj and Calvin Savage to spark a much-needed revival and it looked as though he had finally found the right recipe.

Knights opener Bosman was dropped by Dolphins keeper and skipper Daryn Smit in the first over, a difficult chance diving to his right, and two further chances in the outfield, although difficult, would have seen the Knights in the mire early on.

Left-arm quick Abdulla, making a return to the Dolphins after a four-year absence, opened the bowling and looked impressive.

He picked up the dangerous Dean Elgar (14) with a superb caught-and-bowled effort after Mtokozisi Shezi had struck first, bowling Bosman (eight) with a slower ball.

Savage, making his debut at provincial level in this format, picked up the dangerous Rilee Rossouw (44) caught on the deep cover boundary by Prenelan Subrayen after a 46-run partnership with Pite van Biljon.

Despite losing wickets, the Knights were up with the scoring rate, reaching 100 in the 14th over. Their momentum was halted with a magnificent, diving catch by Savage at deep mid-wicket, to send back Van Biljon (27), off Delport’s bowling.

Surely it was too good to last … and then it happened. Eskom came to the party with a power surge,the lights dipped, fused and went out, with the Knights on 108/4 after 14 overs.

But the Dolphins were still ahead, with the Knights needing 131, according to the D/L method.

When power was restored, Savage, battling with line and length, bagged his second scalp, sending back Van der Wath for 14, Bopara taking the catch at deep square.

Abdullah returned for his final over and grabbed a freak caught-and-bowled, Obus Pienaar’s drive hitting Nicky Boje (non-striker) and bouncing up for the catch.

It was just reward for Abdullah, who finished with an impressive two for 17 in his four overs, with a maiden.

The 25 runs needed off the final over proved too much for the Knights and the Dolphins had a 14-run win, the Knights stranded on 165-6.

The win leaves the Dolphins still at the bottom of the standings, but they have at last tasted victory in the competition. Said Smit: “It’s a pity we have taken so long to show what we can do. It’s a touch bitter-sweet.”

Abdullah was the Ram Slam Deliverer of the Day and Delport the Slammer of the Day.

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