Dolphins machine moves up a gear for semis

2009-02-08 00:00

IF THEY produce at least two more such clinical displays as yesterday, the Dolphins will be in serious danger of wrecking their “off-season” plans and catching a plane to play for the millions on offer in the Champions’ Trophy.

In a season of ups and downs, the KZN outfit was most definitely up yesterday, cruising to an eight-wicket thumping of the woeful Lions in the last round-robin tie of the Pro20 Series.

The Lions’ 112 was never going to be enough, but the measured chase by the Dolphins top-order suggests that they may be clicking just in time.

Hashim Amla and HD Ackermann started well, with the latter swinging merrily and Amla imperious off the front foot.

When they departed within two balls of one another, there could have easily been a stutter in the victory march, but Grant Rowley and skipper Ahmed Amla strode home with some style.

Andre Nel will know for future engagements not to bowl short to Rowley. Twice he did so, and twice he disappeared to the midwicket fence.

Rowley’s 33 off 23 balls was a timely reminder of what he can do, and the selectors now have a lot to ponder ahead of the semi-finals, what with a certain Sri Lankan due back for the play-offs.

The bowling also delivered, with Yusuf Abdullah holding his nerve to oust Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Neil Mckenzie on his way to a three wicket haul.

Quinton Friend was fiery, but it was Johann Louw’s assortment of slower balls and swingers that caught the eye. Two for 13 in four overs was a terrific return and with Daryn Smit and Sanath Jayasuriya’s spin, the Dolphins have a well-balanced attack.

The fielding was slick, with skipper Amla and Smit taking very sharp chances in the early overs.

And they will need to stay sharp, for next up is a best of three semi-final against the star-studded Cobras, starting on Friday the 13th in Cape Town.

The Dolphins will have to take the long route to the final, but they now looked better equipped than ever to make a fist for it.

Meanwhile, in yesterday’s other clash, the Warriors secured top spot and a potential home final by beating the Eagles by 18 runs.

The two sides will meet again in the semis, starting on Wednesday.

Scores in brief: Warriors 149/5 (A Prince 46, C Thyssen 41*, D du Preez 2/21) Eagles 131/7 (D Elgar 28, M van Wyk 25, J Botha 1/17) Warriors won by 18 runs.

Scoreboard

Lions innings

A Phangiso c A.Amla b Abdulla 9

A Petersen c Smit b Friend 0

N Mckenzie b Abdulla 15

V van Jaarsveld c Smit b Abdulla 0

D Vilas not out 55

T Bula c A.Amla b Louw 5

W Coetsee c Kent b Thomas 12

R Frylinck c de Bruyn b Louw 0

C Deacon c Smit b Thomas 2

A Nel not out 9

Extras (3w, 2lb) 5

Total 112

Bowling: Friend 4-0-25-1 (2w), Smit 3-0-14-0, Abdulla 4-0-28-3, Louw 4-0-13-2, A Amla 1-0-5-0, Kent 1-0-8-0(1w), Thomas 3-0-17-2

Dolphins innings

H Amla b Frylinck 28

HD Ackerman b Phangiso 34

G Rowley not out 33

A Amla not out 16

Extras ( 5w,1lb ) 6

Total 117

Bowling: Alexander 2-0-14-0 (3w), Nel 4-0-33-0 (1w), Frylinck 4-0-15-1 (1w), Deacon 3-0-19-0, Coetsee 2-0-16-0, Phangiso 4-0-19-1.

Result: Dolphins won by 8 wickets with 6 balls left

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