Dolphins skip merry way into semis

2011-02-12 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins have only gone and done it again. Last night’s nine-run win over the Cape Cobras sealed their passage into the last four of the Pro20 Series — and they still have two games in which to seal a home semi-final advantage.

For a side that has maintained that it is merely building for the future, they have contrived to throw the form book out of the window and help themselves to three massive wins in this competition.

Last night’s win over the Cobras was made even more impressive by the fact that they recovered from a parlous 18 for two with the bat, after David Miller and Loots Bosman fell within an over of each other.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld (53 off 38 balls) and Devon Conway, both recent imports from up north, combined brilliantly to add 92 runs to put the Dolphins right back into it.

Van Jaarsveld was the bludgeoner, while little Conway was downright cheeky at times, scooping a none-too-pleased Charl Langevedlt over the keeper with a memorable piece of creativity that you won’t find in an ICC manual.

But that is the name of the shortest format of the game, and the priceless, third-wicket stand allowed the home side to lift themsleves to a hearty 154 for three in their allotted overs.

“They bowled quite well, and the wicket was quite slow,” Van Jaarseveld admitted.

“We knew we just had to get a partnership to get us going again.”

Conway’s 62 off 60 balls was an innings that showed glimpses of just why he comes so highly rated for a 19-year-old. Having given his wicket away in recent matches, he kept his head and fought through a tough patch at the top of the innings.

The Cobras, even despite the slow-ish pitch, would have still fancied their chances against a Dolphins attack that has relied heavily on their part-timers.

The dangerous Richard Levi had gone to the second ball of the innings, locating the only man on the boundary off a Jon Kent long-hop.

Herschelle Gibbs lived a charmed life to get to 31, but having hit Ahmed Amla for a six, he was caught on the cow-corner fence by Van Jaarsveld when trying to hit him even further off the next ball.

“We actually back them just as much as our frontline bowlers, because they practise just as hard,” Kyle Abbott revealed after another nerveless performance with the ball.

Abbott rightly took the plaudits for his spell of two for 21 in four overs — including a miserly three runs off the penultimate over — but the “bits and pieces” bowlers certainly played their part.

Imraan Khan’s off-spin snared one for 13 in three overs, while Keshav Maharaj was tidy enough in conceding 29 in his spell.

By the time Abbott had bowled the pivotal 19th over, the writing was on the wall.

The Cobras needed 32 off the last over, and though Yasir Arafat conceded 22 to keep them interested, the Dolphins hung on for yet another triumph against the odds.

Top of the table — and with growing confidence — they must now focus their energies on not getting bored while waiting for another three teams to join them in the last four.

Dolphins innings

10

62

0

53

22

7

154

Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-18, 3-110,

Bowling: Langeveldt 4-2-25-1 (1w), Louw 4-0-40-0, Philander 4-0-23-1 (1w), Kemp 3-0-20-1 (1w), Rippon 3-0-22-0, Ontong 2-0-23-0 (1w)

Cobras innings

32

0

31

28

3

5

30

9

0

7

145

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-57, 3-87, 4-99, 5-100, 6-106, 7-129

Bowling: Kent 4-0-24-2 (1w), Arafat 4-0-43-1 (2w), Abbott 4-0-21-2, Maharaj 4-0-29-0 (1w), Khan 3-0-13-1 (1w), Amla 1-0-13-1

Result: Dolphins win by nine runs.

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