Dolphins off to good start

2009-11-13 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins made an excellent start to their SuperSport Series encounter against the Eagles at the Oval yesterday.

In typically sticky Maritzburg conditions, the Dolphins ended the day on 171/3, just seven runs short of the Eagles’ 178 total.

The Eagles could have been rolled over for even less, as a committed home side reduced them to 102 for seven just before lunch.

“The boys stuck to the task really well upfront, and I was very happy with the intensity,” Dolphins skipper Imraan Khan reflected at the end of play.

Quinton Friend (3/40) started the rot, bowling an impressive first spell which received handy support from Johan Louw and Andrew Hall.

Friend accounted for Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw, while Hall induced a most un-Boeta Dippennaar-like shot, as the visitors slumped to 30 for 4.

Debutant Mthokozisi Shezi had a dream start, having Dean Elgar strangled down the leg side with his first ball at this level. Indeed, he could have added the scalp of Ryan Bailey, but his lbw shout was turned down.

The introduction of Daryn Smit saw encouraging purchase from a surface that will interest the spinners at the weekend.

Smit, utilising all his variations, was probing to start before he got his rewards. In-form Morné van Wyk was snapped up at slip by Hall, and Con de Lange was very well held by stand-in keeper Cameron Delport as the hosts turned the screw.

Delport’s enthusiasm got the better of him on the stroke of lunch, however, as he launched himself at what would have been a regulation catch for first slip to dismiss the dangerous Johan van der Wath.

The excellent lunch spread seemed to affect the Dolphins, however, as they leaked runs to Van der Wath and a cavalier Thandi Tshabalala after the break.

Van der Wath fell for 42 to a Smit straight delivery, but not before he had seen his side get close to the 150 mark.

Tshabalala (30*) took a liking to Smit, and peppered the off-side with a number of boundaries.

An unnecessary run-out ended the Eagles’ first dig, but 178 was probably 40 runs too many after the Dolphins’ impressive first session.

Khan and Delport set about the chase with good intent, but both openers would have been disappointed by the nature of their dismissals.

Khan (32), in fine touch, lamented that his attempted shot off Tshabalala was ill-conceived and Delport was a little unlucky to have a delivery “stop” on him, and he looped it to a grateful Elgar at cover.

Hashim Amla, back from South African duty, looked in ominous form, but he also fell to Tshabalala’s off-spin. The Proteas man tried to give himself room, but played on to his stumps.

At 90 for three, the Dolphins were certainly not tottering, but they needed to restore calm.

This they did splendidly, with the experienced duo of Jon Kent and Ahmed Amla combining in a timely and undefeated stand of 81.

Kent, fresh off a hundred against Boland last week, played freely and stylishly, while Amla started slowly before cashing in on some loose spin bowling.

This match, played on a wicket that has something for everyone, has rattled along at a fine pace. Those who venture down to the Oval will witness some fine cricket, with the Dolphins surely intent on batting through most of today.

Scoreboard

Toss: Eagles

Eagles first innings

R Hendricks c H Amla b Friend0

D Elgar c Smit b Shezi6

R Rossouw c Smit b Friend11

B Dippenaar b Hall3

R Bailey c&b Friend19

M van Wyk c Hall b Smit14

C de Lange c Delport b Smit23

J van der Wath lbw b Smit41

T Tshabalala not out30

C de Villiers c Louw b Smit12

V Mpitsang run out (Louw)1

Extras: (8b, 5lb, 2w, 3nb)18

Total: (all out, 46.1 overs)178

Fall of wickets: 1/3, 2/22, 3/26, 4/30, 5/54, 6/60, 7/102, 8/145, 9/173, 10/178

Bowling: Louw 11-4-39-0, Friend 12-2-40-3 (2nb, 1w), Hall 8.1-2-22-1, Shezi 4-1-14-1, Smit 11-1-50-4.

Dolphins first innings

I Khan c Dippenaar b Tshabalala32

C Delport c Elgar b Mpitsang18

H Amla b Tshabalala33

A Amla not out34

J Kent not out43

Extras (4b, 5lb, 1w, 1nb)11

Total (for 3 wickets. 47 overs)171

Fall of wickets: 1/36, 2/75, 3/90

Bowling: Van der Wath 11.4-1-52-0 (1w), Mpitsang 6-2-11-1, De Villiers 10.2-1-46-0 (1nb), Tshabalala 14-4-39-2, Elgar 5-1-14-0. — Sapa.

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