Defiant Dolphins dig deep

2010-10-16 00:00

FROM the doldrums of 25 for four, the KZN Dolphins fought back in terrific style to end the day on 280 for eight against the Titans at Kingsmead yesterday.

Ahmed Amla (77) and Loots Bosman (62) added 90 for the fifth wicket, and Jon Kent (50) and Kyle Abbott (41 not out) toiled manfully to haul the KZN outfit squarely back into the reckoning.

It could have been a very different tale, though, as both Bosman and Amla were dropped in the slip cordon before the Dolphins had reached 50.

The predicted precipitation stayed away, but it rained wickets in the first hour. The classy Titans’ attack revelled in favourable, grey conditions, with Ethy Mbhalathi snaring three early wickets, including the prized scalp of Kevin Pietersen for a second-ball duck.

Starting the day on one without loss after a solitary over the night before, the Dolphins were soon in trouble as Mbhalathi found an unnerving line and length — and just enough movement.

Divan van Wyk was gobbled up at third slip for three, while an uncomfortble looking Imraan Khan was leg before for the same score to a rampant Mbhalathi.

Pietersen, to his dismay, was then given out leg before to Mbhalathi to a ball that was seaming back into the England man.

As is the way with most batsmen, Pietersen looked mortified at the decision, but it certainly looked parrallel from one’s perch in the press-box.

Maritzburg product Bradley Moses, who had stuck around for half an hour, then played an uncharacteristically rash shot as the pressure mounted for the Dolphins.

At 25 for four, they were in all sorts of strife. The solidly-built CJ de Villiers, who joined the Titans from Free State, then found the edge of Bosman and then Amla, but watched in horror as his chums in the “grabbers’’ let him down.

And how the Titans paid for it.

Bosman, in a new role at number six, played with his customary flair, pouncing on anything loose outside off-stump.

Amla was somewhat more sedate, as the duo weathered the storm — and kept an eye on the gathering gloom from above.

By the time an early lunch was taken, the Dolphins were 88 for four, with Bosman bashing and Amla ambling his way along.

Bosman greeted Roelof van der Merwe with a six over long-off, but the Protea had his revenge straight away, taking an excellent caught and bowled chance with his right hand.

Daryn Smit didn’t last too long, as he was bowled off the inside edge by Hardus “Nails” Viljoen.

The elegant Jon Kent then joined Amla, and they added 64 before Amla lazily tried to cut the part-time spin of Henry Davids on the stroke of tea.

It was a lazy shot, and cost the Amla family the chance to celebrate two hundreds on the same day - in different matches, mind — as Hashim blazed 110 in Bloemfontein against Zimbabwe.

But Amla’s 77 as the glue in a defiant Dolphins rearguard, and Kent found a willing ally in Abbott.

Kent reached 50 with a classic cover drive off Mbhalathi, but the Titans beanpole had his man dead in front off the very next ball.

Abbott, mixing strength and sense, saw off the second new ball with a courageous Quinton Friend before bad light halted proceedings just after 4 pm.

With a cheeky lead of 38, the Dolphins may yet be tempted to declare and stick the Titans in first thing this morning.

If the increasingly unpredictable weather holds, it certainly will be game on.



Titans first innings 242

Dolphins first innings

I Khan lbw Mbhalati 7

D van Wyk c Behardien b Mbhalati 3

B Moses c Kuhn b De Villiers 3

K Pietersen lbw Mbhalati 0

A Amla b Davids 77

L Bosman c&b Van der Merwe 62

D Smith b Viljoen 7

J Kent lbw Mbhalati 50

K Abbot not out 41

Q Friend not out 10

Extras: (10lb, 4w, 6nb) 20

Total: (for 8, 90 overs) 280

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-19, 3-19, 4-25, 5-115, 6-142, 7-206, 8-252

Bowling: E Mbhalati 20-5-37-4 (6nb, 1w), G Viljoen 18-2-58-1 (1w), C de Villiers 16-2-58-2 (2w), C Pienaar 10-1-29-0, R vd Merwe 14-0-47-1, F Behardien 2-0-13-0, Davids 10-0-28-1


In Cape Town: Cape Cobras 330 v Knights 199/6.

In Port Elizabeth: Warriors v Lions – rained out for second day.

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