Shezi shines as Dolphins rally

2010-03-27 00:00

THE Dolphins stood up and fought yesterday, as they restricted the Lions to 390 for seven at stumps on an engaging second day’s play at Kingsmead yesterday.

The star for the Dolphins was Mthokozisi Shezi, a young left-arm seamer who produced career best figures at this level.

His five for 41 was exceptional in the circumstances, but he had hinted at a rich haul when he bowled with discipline yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday, he produced much of the same, as his 22 overs were as miserly as they come considering the state of the pitch and the calibre of batsmen facing him.

Shezi received admirable support from Jon Kent, the lanky all-rounder atoning for his lazy shot with the bat somewhat, as he snared two for 54 in his 20 overs.

The Lions, resuming on 131 for one, looked set to rattle up an imposing total on a flat pitch against a limited attack.

Instead, they were made to scrap as the Dolphins sought to restore some sort of pride with tight bowling and, in the main, sound fielding.

The stumbling block for the Dolphins came via Stephen Cook, whose golden season has now produced over 1 000 runs at franchise level.

Yesterday he was business-like, quietly knocking off the runs as his side found the going a lot tougher against the determined home team.

Overnight partner Jonathan Vandiar went early, as he nicked Shezi to the slip cordon.

The Dolphins were more than happy to see the back of him early, as the former Durbanite has made a rather nasty habit of making big runs against his former buddies whenever he gets the chance.

He was followed soon after by Neil McKenzie, who looked out of sorts before he was undone by the consistent Kent.

The former Proteas batsman may yet have played his last knock for the Lions, as he is leaving at the end of the season — and the Lions may not get another chance to bat if they have things their own wicked way.

As it was, the visitors needed a stand, and Vaughn van Jaarsveld linked up with Cook to restore order in the middle.

A clean hitter, Van Jaarsveld was given a life by Khaya Zondo off the bowling of Smit, and the Dolphins paid a big premium for that lapse.

Cook and his chunky partner added 111 for the fourth-wicket, and that allowed them to dictate the tempo.

Shezi’s afternoon burst saw him remove Zander de Bruyn and Thami Tsolekile cheaply, but then the Lions’ tail decided to give an almighty wag.

Robbie Frylinck, yet another KZN export, bashed his way to 48 off 73 balls, while at the other end Cliffie Deacon safely negotiated 122 balls for his 32.

It was painful stuff for the Dolphins, who would have had plans to be batting before the end of play yesterday after their afternoon burst.

Instead, they now face a deficit that has already breached 200 and an irritating duo of tailenders who quite fancy themselves on flat deck against a tiring attack.

The Dolphins will be keen to get the job done early this morning, and then look to bat a darn sight better than they did on the first day.

That is the plan, but, of course, these things never quite go accordingly.

Not for KZN sporting teams, anyway.

SCOREBOARD

Toss: Dolphins

Dolphins first innings 185 all out

Highveld Lions first innings (o/n 131/1)

S Cook c Smith b Shezi119

A Petersen c H Amla b Shezi50

J Vandiar c Kent b Shezi19

N McKenzie c Barnes b Kent15

V van Jaarsveld c Barnes b Kent68

Z de Bruyn c Smit b Shezi8

T Tsolekile c Smit b Shezi4

W Deacon not out32

R Frylinck not out48

Extras (10b, 1lb, 3w, 13nb)27

TOTAL (for 7 wkts in 119.1 overs) 390

Fall of wickets: 1-104, 2-136, 3-17, 4-278, 5-287, 6-308, 7-309 Bowling: Abbott 19.1-2-67-0 (6nb), Shezi 22-6-41-5 (2nb,2w), Chetty 22-4-91-0 (5nb, 1w), Kent 20-3-54-2, Smit 36-5-126-0.

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