Time to start from scratch for Dolphins

2010-03-29 00:00

AND now they can start from scratch. Well, sort of anyway.

The Dolphins’ embattled season reached its bitter end on Saturday afternoon, as they were handed a 10-wicket drubbing by the Lions at Kingsmead.

That the home side staved off the even greater embarassment of an innings defeat was a very minor detail, for they had been behind in this match from the first hour.

Coach Graham Ford and his charges will take a month-long breather now, before they begin the exhaustive process of sorting themselves out for next season.

This weekend’s match against the Gauteng visitors only served to highlight the glaring weaknesses that are strangling the Dolphins’ progress.

But there was a faint trace of silver to the cloud that hovers in the Dolphins’ changeroom, as young Mthokozisi Shezi returned the most remarkable figures considering the circumstances.

The batting in the second innings had the look of a team already on their holidays — and the scorecard reflected this.

To be fair, the Dolphins were on the receiving end of just about every questionable decision going at Kingsmead, but that is what you get when you hit rock bottom.

The Lions resumed on Saturday with 390 on the board, and three wickets in hand.

If the Dolphins had hoped for a snappy finish to the tail, Robbie Frylinck had other ideas.

On 48 overnight, the solidly-built KZN discard took the chance to show what the Durban boys were missing, as he bludgeoned 70 to raise the Lions’ lead to 230.

Not before Shezi had added two further scalps and a direct hit from long leg to cap a lone struggle against the tide.

Shezi’s control and persistence suggests that he can play a part in Ford’s revolution.

He shaped the ball back into the right-handers, and his length was impeccable.

When a team goes beyond 400, seven for 45 in almost 26 overs is scarcely believable, but the former Glenwood product took this match to show what he can do.

The Dolphins’ team, however, could not rouse themselves for a final rearguard.

Bradley Barnes again fell early, and the wisdom of persisting with a flashy stroke-player at the top of the order has to be questioned.

Barnes can certainly play — having made runs aplenty for the Coastals side — but a much tighter game is needed to survive at franchise level.

Hashim Amla, playing for the first time in weeks, was again removed by Zander de Bruyn’s wobblers, this time nicking one that held its line.

Though Amla will be disappointed not to have contributed in either innings, he will be glad to have got through the match unscathed, as his left hand remained bandaged when he was fielding.

His brother Ahmed blazed his way to 34 with seven boundaries, but his dismissal summed up the Dolphins’ season.

He creamed a straight drive back to bowler Frylinck, who somehow parried it to mid-off while trying to save himself, and De Bruyn took a tumbling catch to complete the madness.

Khaya Zondo showed promise with a classy 43, but he gave away a maiden franchise 50 when he slashed Cliffie Deacon to slip.

Kyle Abbott and Shezi then did just about enough to stave off the innings defeat, but the Lions only needed five to win the match.

The deadly duo of Hashim Amla and David Miller opened the bowling for the Dolphins — not a sign of things to come, surely!

Miller’s misdirected second ball disappeared down leg for four byes, and it aptly summed up the most frustrating of seasons.

SCOREBOARD

Dolphins first innings185 all out

Highveld Lions first innings415 all out

Dolphins second innings

B Barnes c Tsolekile b Frylinck4

I Khan c McKenzie b Deacon9

H Amla c Tsolekile b De Bruyn7

A Amla c Petersen b Frylinck34

D Miller lbw Alexander18

D Smit b Shamsi27

K Zondo c McKenzie b Deacon43

J Kent lbw Shamsi30

K Abbott c Deacon b Shamsi28

M Shezi c Cook b22

K Chetty not out3

Extras (4lb, 5nb)9

Total (all out)234 - 73 overs

Fow: 1-5, 2-21, 3-45, 4-68, 5-84, 6-125, 7-159, 8-193, 9-222

Bowling: Deacon 17-7-32-2 (2nb) Frylinck 13-4-24-2, Alexander 16-3-64-2, De Bruyn 9-1-32-1 (3nb), Shamsi 18-0-78-3

Highveld Lions second innings

S Cook not out3

A Petersen not out0

Extras (4b)4

Total (for 0 wkts)7 – 1.2 overs

Bowling: H Amla 1-0-3-0, Miller 0.2-0-0-0

Result: Highveld Lions win by 10 wickets

Man of the match: M Shezi & S Cook (shared)

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