Battle for survival

2013-11-23 00:00

WATCHING the Dolphins toil under the merciless sun at Pietermaritzburg Oval yesterday was like watching Egyptian slaves being whipped by their masters.

It was day two of the four-day Sunfoil Series clash against the Cobras and, while the weather brightened, there was not much light for the Dolphins as they chased leather and attempted to bowl the Cobras out without conceding too much of a first innings lead.

That’s pretty hard to accomplish when a side have been demolished for 88 in their first knock and hard as they tried, the sun made the pitch hard, allowing the batsmen to play freely and when the last wicket did mercifully come, the Dolphins were 310 runs behind.

Starting the day on 128-3, the Cobras batted through until just after 2.30 pm, all out for 398 in 115.3 overs, scoring at a reasonable 3,44 to the over. The Dolphins struck early with the wickets of Yaseen Vallie (0) and Dane Vilas (4), but Justin Kemp (42) joined Stiaan van Zyl — who was steadily moving toward his century — for a 74-run sixth-wicket partnership that set the tone for Rory Kleinveldt (72) to wield the willow to good effect.

Any hope the Dolphins had of a satisfying lunch was horribly undone as Kleinveldt launched into the bowling, putting on 111 for the seventh wicket with Van Zyl. He scored his runs from 64 balls with nine fours and four sixes, taking on the Dolphins spinners — Prenelan Subrayen, Daryn Smit and Keshav Maharaj — as the Cobras walked to lunch on 288-6, 200 runs to the good.

Van Zyl was the rock for the Cobras, reaching his 12th first class century from 139 balls. He was undefeated at the end with 167, five runs short of his first class best of 172, having started the day on 63. With the tail-enders he took the Cobras’ lead beyond 300, effectively shutting out the Dolphins, who are batting for survival and hoping for rain with still two days of the match to play.

It was tough just watching the Dolphins bowlers but the pick was Subrayen (4-115) in 34.3 overs and Maharaj (3-106) in 34 overs. Kyle Abbott fought a lone battle for the quick bowlers, getting 2-58 from 22 overs. Graham Onions only bowled 11 overs in the innings, giving away 49 runs for no return, four of those overs yesterday, as Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk relied on his spinners to do the business.

As the clock moved toward 3 pm, Divan van Wyk and Imraan Khan began the Dolphins’ response, a battle of survival and attrition. Khan dispatched the first ball of the innings from Beuran Hendricks through the covers for four, something not seen much in the first innings, and the signs of some fight, some pride, looked evident.

Batting looked far more comfortable than on day one, the Dolphin openers reaching 46 before Khan fell to spinner Dane Piedt, who was introduced into the attack as early as the seventh over.

Khaya Zondo (35*) and Divan van Wyk (52*) saw the Dolphins through to the close on 125-1, an unbroken partnership of 79 for the second wicket, still 185 runs behind with nine wickets in the bank. Van Wyk brought up his 50 with the final ball of the day.

A full day’s play was possible and there is still plenty of cricket to be played in the next two days — if the match goes the distance — and while the Dolphins cannot win, a good old-fashioned fight of things, going down with guns blazing and dare we hope, possibly saving the match, will restore cricket to its rightful place as one of sport’s most unpredictable games.

Play starts at 9 am today.


Cape Cobras 1st Innings

OA Ramela lbw b Maharaj19

AG Puttick c Onions b Subrayen11

S van Zyl not out167

JL Ontong c Smit b Maharaj23

MY Vallie lbw b Abbott0

DJ Vilas c Subrayen b Maharaj4

JM Kemp lbw b Smit42

RK Kleinveldt lbw b Subrayen72

DL Pied tlbw b Abbott12

S Simetu lbw b Subrayen16

BE Hendricks b Subrayen6

Extras (b 11, lb 8, nb 7)26

TOTAL (10 wickets; 115.3 overs)398

Dolphins 2nd Innings

I Khan lbw b Piedt29

DJ van Wyk not out52

K Zondo not out35

Extras (b 4, lb 1, nb 4)9

TOTAL (1 wickets; 31 overs)125


In Pretoria: Lions 419 (Stephen Cook 113, Temba Bavuma 88, Cobus Pienaar 3-72). Titans 278/6 (Heino Kuhn 88, Cobus Pienaar 83, Hardus Viljoen 4-58). Titans trail by 141 runs with 4 wickets remaining in the 1st innings

In East London: Knights 324 (Dean Elgar 122, Lefa Mosena 73, Andrew Birch 3-67). Warriors 228/5 (David White 73, Ashwell Prince 72, Werner Coetsee 3-54).

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