Miller mania sees Dolphins home

2009-11-09 00:00

THE Dolphins, in some style, disposed of the Eagles by five wickets at Kingsmead yesterday to keep their MTN40 semi-final ambitions on track.

A composed and undefeated stand of 113 between David Miller (70*) and Daryn Smit (53), saw the Dolphins romp home with 15 balls to spare.

The partnership was a new record for the sixth wicket for the Dolphins, pipping the previous best of 98 by Lance Klusener and Dale Benkenstein.

Miller, a deserved man of the match, spanked his runs off just 44 balls, justifying coach Graham Ford’s decision to give him “licence” in this format.

“Fordie just told me to go and play my natural game, and I was really chuffed with the result,” an ecstatic Miller told The Witness after the match.

It was certainly not a one-man show though, with Smit providing much-needed calm as the home side threatened to throw away a fabulous start.

Earlier, the Eagles had won the toss and elected to bat on a wonderful strip for batting. Morne van Wyk, in the middle of a purple patch, batted through the innings to notch another fine century.

His 110 was ended off the last ball of the innings, but not before he had carved up a sublime alliance of 148 runs with Boeta Dippenaar.

Belying his status as an international has-been, Dippenaar’s 76 was dripping with classy lofted drives and pulls.

To their credit, the Dolphins stuck at it, and the veteran pair of Alfonso Thomas and Andrew Hall were praised by Ford for their miserly finish, especially after Yusuf Abdullah had limped off the field during the first over of the day.

“To give away 28 in that last powerplay was a great effort, and it gave us some momentum.”

The Dolphins innings began at a furious pace, with captain Imraan Khan out-scoring Loots Bosman in a frenzy of four-hitting.

The burly Bosman clubbed two sixes off Johan van der Wath for good measure, and at 96 without loss by the 10th over, the Dolphins looked like they were going to up proceedings before the fat lady even got into the stadium.

But Con de Lange’s wily left-arm spin put the skids on, as he coaxed out both openers before producing a snorter to send HD Ackermann back to the sheds without score.

When Ahmed Amla and a busy Cameron Delport departed too, the 260 target suddenly resembled a small mountain.

Enter Miller and Smit, in a stand that had Ford positively beaming.

“It’s really good to see the guys growing into their roles like this,” he said, reserving special mention for Smit’s maturity during a mid-innings wobble.

While Smit swept the spinners into submission, Miller was altogether less subtle.

He smeared two maximums in a Thandi Tshabalala over, before he repeated the dose off CJ de Villiers — including another towering hit into his favourite Castle Corner.

“I am really enjoying these power-plays,” Miller cheekily added.

“You can just give it horns if it is in the slot, because you know that there is no one back.”

Miller and company will now switch their focus to the somewhat more sedate SuperSport Series, when they host the Eagles at the Maritzburg Oval from Thursday.

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