Knights slay Dolphins

2010-12-04 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins limped out of the MTN40 Domestic Championship last night as they lost by eight runs to the Chevrolet Knights at Kingsmead.

The final result suggests a close contest, but in truth the Knights were in control for most of the proceedings.

While David Miller (63) was at the crease the home side had a chance, but once he holed out, it was a slippery slope.

Ravi Bopara (30) added 76 in even time with Miller, but they again paid for too many wickets lost upfront.

The subsequent pressure on the middle-order told, and the Dolphins will wake up this morning knowing they could still have been in the competition.

The Knights’ innings was built firmly around Morné van Wyk’s eighth limited-overs century. The big-hitting opener has had a lean time of it this season, coming into the match with just one 50 in the MTN40 campaign.

He was back at something approaching his best, but he had some generous Dolphins fare to help him along. Van Wyk’s reputation has been built on his relish for any short stuff, yet the Dolphins proceeded to bowl halfway down the track in the early stages.

And they paid for it. One particular shot, a back-foot drive over cover for six, should have confirmed to the Dolphins that they had to go fuller, but by the time they did, the horse had not so much bolted, it had run a few laps.

Imran Tahir’s introduction was again crucial for the Dolphins, as the wrist-spinner immediately struck to get the home side interested again.

There has been much said about his ability and what he would bring to the Proteas, but for now at least, the Dolphins look likely to have his wizardry in tow while Home Affairs decides whether he is okay to play for his adopted country.

Last night, amid much pressure, Tahir produced a spell of penetrative and economical brilliance, turning the ball sharply and never allowing the Knights to settle.

Van Wyk didn’t receive much support from the specialist batters, but a strong finish by Johan van der Wath proved crucial.

Bopara’s final over — the last of the innings — disappeared for 20 runs. It was to prove decisive.

Imraan Khan and Ahmed Amla added 33, but Khan was bounced out for the third match running by Van der Wath.

Amla followed soon after, though he looked disgusted at the lbw decision off Victor Mpitsang’s bowling.

Jon Kent was promoted up the order, but his shot illustrated the panic starting to set in at the Dolphins’ camp.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld struck a solid if unspectacular 25, and it was left to Miller and Bopara to take it home.

It was a stiff ask, and Bopara’s demise — skying Mpitsang just when he and Miller were getting on top — swung the match back in the visitors’ favour.

Glen Addicott sacrificed himself for Miller in the mayhem, and the Dolphins were really in the mire by then.

The Knights will face the Titans in next Friday’s final, while the Dolphins will have to file this display in the “learning curve” cupboard.

SCOREBOARD

Knights innings

109

13

6

30

16

24

0

3

14

215

Fall of wickets: 1/70, 2/86, 3/155, 4/186, 5/186, 6/186

Bowling: Abbott 7-1-43-0 (3w), Kent 5-0-35-0 (1w), Friend 2-0-23-0, Shezi 7-0-37-0, Tahir 7-0-24-4, Bopara 7-0-48-1 (5w)

Dolphins innings

23

14

25

4

30

63

2

2

3

20

12

207

Fall of wickets: 1-33 (Khan, 4.3 ov), 2-39 (Amla, 6.1 ov), 3-61 (Kent, 11.3 ov), 4-81 (van Jaarsveld, 15.5 ov), 5-157 (Bopara, 28.1 ov), 6-161 (Addicott, 29.1 ov), 7-175 (Miller, 31.1 ov), 8-175 (Smit, 31.2 ov), 9-192 (Zondo, 33.4 ov)

Bowling: JJ van der Wath 7 0 50, R McLaren 7 1 45 0, J Coetzee 7 0 30 3, AJ Pienaar 3 0 22 0, CD de Lange 3 0 16 0, AK Kruger 1 0 9 0.

Knight won by 8 runs

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