Saved from the dead

2014-11-17 00:00

WEST Indian all-rounder Andre “Superman” Russell blitzed the Dolphins’ top order to ensure they finished with their lowest-ever domestic T20 total of 82 all out in the Ram Slam Challenge clash against the Knights at Kingsmead yesterday.

The burly bowler, reaching speeds of 146 km/h, struck twice in his first over, sending back captain Morne van Wyk (6) and Divan van Wyk (0) to reduce the home side to 7-2 after opting to bat first on what looked a decent strip.

At the other end, Quinton Friend accounted for Cameron Delport (1) and when Russell struck for the third time, snaffling Vaughn van Jaarsveld for 2, the Dolphins were destroyed at 9-4. Robbie Frylinck, batting at six, was at the wicket in the fourth over and after the mandatory six-over powerplay the Dolphins were all but knocked out on 16-5, Sibonelo Makhanya also back in the hut for two as Malusi Siboto got in on the action.

All eyes were focused on whether the Dolphins would surpass the lowest-ever domestic T20 score of 47 scored by the Titans against the then Free State Eagles at Centurion in 2003/04 and, although they did cross that line, it was the only box they ticked in their more than poor batting display.

It took a seventh wicket partnership of 38 between Keshav Maharaj (19) and Khaya Zondo (33), the only Dolphins batsmen to reach double figures, to add what could be called any respectability to the Dolphins score, but 82 in 18.5 overs was a shocking effort.

The previous lowest T20 score at Kingsmead was 86 by the Knights in 13.2 overs last season and the worst effort from the Dolphins until last night was 88 against Western Province Boland in 2004/05.

It could have been worse, Zondo dropped by Gerhardt Abrahams on 17 and the score 47-6 and toward the end, Prenelan Subrayen (6) given a brief life on five when Shadley van Schalkwyk put him down and the score 72-7.

Russell finished with 4-18, Van Schalkwyk 2-14 and Friend 2-17. And then, by sheer divine intervention, the rain arrived during the innings break. It got harder as the Knights prepared to take guard and much to the Dolphins’ delight, off the teams went. Could the home side sneak a valuable two points thanks to the weather gods?

Time ticked by, the cut-off for a five-over game being 9.18 pm. At one stage, the revised target was 68 needed from 90 balls and whenever it looked as though the rain would allow some play, down it came again. It was a comedy show as no sooner were the covers off, then they were on again.

It seemed someone upstairs in the heavens was turning a tap on and off.

It was the grace the Dolphins needed, umpires calling off the game just before 9 pm, the sides sharing the points.

For the Knights, unjust consolation, for the Dolphins, an escape from the dead and embarrassment spared as defending such a total would have taken a herculean effort.

These were a valuable two points in what was a weekend to forget for the Dolphins. They lost by seven wickets to the Warriors in Port Elizabeth on Friday and were saved by the weather yesterday.

Adding to their woes is West Indian signing Dwayne Bravo nursing a hamstring niggle, along with Cody Chetty.

Next up for the Dolphins are the Cobras at Kingsmead on Friday.

SCOREBOARD

Dolphins innings

M van Wyk b Russell6

C Delport c Russell b Friend1

D van Wyk c Siboto b Russell0

V van Jaarsveld c Second b Russell2

K Zondo c Hendricks b Russell33

B Makhanya b Siboto2

R Frylinck c Second b Friend8

K Maharaj c Rosier b Pienaar19

P Subrayen c Coetsee b van Schalkwyk6

C Alexander c Russell b van Schalkwyk0

R Engelbrecht not out0

Extras: (w4, nb1)5

Total: (all out; 18.5 overs) 82 -- 18.5 overs

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-7, 3-8, 4-9, 5-12, 6-28, 7-66, 8-75, 9-77, 10-8 2

Bowling: Friend 4-0-17-2, Russell 3.5-1-18-4 (1nb, 2w), Van Schalkwyk 4-0-14-2 (1w), Siboto 3-0-13-1, Coetsee 3-0-16-0 (1w), Pienaar 1-0-4-1.

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