Dolphins fail to deal killer blow

2013-11-04 00:00

AN eighth-wicket partnership of 71 between Warriors captain Davey Jacobs (35) and Andrew Birch (45) carried their side to a two-wicket win with 11 balls to spare against the Dolphins in a Momentum One-Day Cup match at Pietermaritzburg Oval yesterday.

For the second time in the week, the Dolphins failed to deliver the killer blow, seemingly set for victory and having done all the hard work, only to be denied by the resilience of the lower order. At 151-7 chasing 223 to win, it seemed another four points in the bag for the Dolphins until Jacobs and Birch got together.

Batting first at a sun-baked Pietermaritzburg Oval, the Dolphins posted double Nelson, 222-9 in their 50 overs, nothing to set the world alight, but something for the bowlers to defend — and it seemed with ease at one stage.

Having won the toss, Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk opted for first strike on a strip that had been drying under the covers in the lead-up to the match after heavy rain during the week. It promised even bounce and a fast outfield offered runs for the taking.

Initially, this was the case as the Dolphins top-order scored freely until the Warriors spinners came on and gave the visitors the upper hand. With the ball biting into the dry wicket, the Dolphins batsmen were pegged back, the scoring rate dropping to 3,8 at one stage.

Using four spinners — Simon Harmer, JJ Smuts, Luthando Mnyanda and Colin Ingram — the visitors were rewarded with 24 overs between them, resulting in 81 runs scored, backed with three wickets. The batsmen were tested on a pitch that began offering uneven bounce, one ball shaving a batsman’s ears, the next being scraped off his ankles.

A highlight of the Dolphins innings was a third-wicket partnership of 74 from 118 balls between Vaughn van Jaarsveld (48) and Imraan Khan (41), which saw the Dolphins looking steady on 119-3 after 28.1 overs.

With the Warriors spinners extracting good turn from the wicket, the Dolphins were pegged back to 137-5 and some substance was given to the innings with a sixth-wicket stand of 64 between Daryn Smit (44) and Khaya Zondo (39).

With the scoring rate needing acceleration, Smit began hitting out and was magnificently caught on the square leg boundary by Christiaan Jonker, who nonchalantly plucked the ball out of the air. Graham Onions strapped his pads on for the Dolphins for the first time, but was run out without scoring as the lower order scrambled vital runs.

Best of the Warrior bowlers were the hard-working Andrew Birch (2-26) and Lundi Mbane (2-50). Ingram, Rusty Theron, Smuts and Mnyanda picked up one apiece. Mbane was on a hat-trick at one stage, dismissing Smit and Frylinck in successive balls and Onions doing well to dig out his first ball.

The Warriors were always ahead of the run rate and despite losing wickets when partnerships were well set, there was always a suspicion they could pull it off. Ingram, returning from the UAE, scored 41 in a partnership of 61 with Ryan Bailey (45) and with the Dolphins beginning to strangle the Warriors, it looked like another four points in the bag.

Jacobs and Birch dispelled any idea of a Dolphins win and in the end, it was achieved quite easily. For the Dolphins, Kyle Abbott bagged 4-44 and Smit 2-39.

The Warriors top the table with 24 points, ahead of the Cobras on net run-rate, while the Dolphins are third on 23 points.

This week is the final round of matches before the play-off spots are decided and the Dolphins’ clash with the Cobras at Kingsmead on Friday could be a must-win game, depending on whether the Titans beat the Knights in Bloemfontein.


Dolphins innings

I Khan c Smuts b Mnyanda41

M van Wyk c Theron b Birch19

C Delport c Jacobs b Birch5

V van Jaarsveld b Smuts48

C Chetty c & b Ingram4

K Zondo c Bailey b Theron39

D Smit c Jonker b Mbane44

R Frylinck b Mbane0

K Abbott not out4

G Onions run out (Birch)0

C Alexander not out4

Extras (5lb, 9w, 1nb)15

TOTAL (for nine wickets in 50 overs)222

Fall of wickets 1-29, 2-45, 3-119, 4-127, 5-137, 6-201, 7-213, 8-213, 9-216

Bowling: Harmer 10-0-32-0 (2w), Birch 7-2-26-2 (2w), Theron 10-0-60-1 (1nb,1w), Mbane 9-1-50-2 (2w), Smuts 10-1-30-1 (1w), Mnyanda 2-0-9-1 (1w), Ingram 2-0-10-1

Warriors innings

J Smuts c van Wyk b Abbott6

L Mnyanda b Onions3

C Ingram c Chetty b Smit41

R Bailey c & b Smit45

A Prince c van Wyk b Delport18

D Jacobs not out35

C Jonker c van Wyk b Abbott9

S Harmer c Smit b Abbott0

A Birch b Abbott45

J Theron not out0

Extras (2lb, 17w, 2nb)21

TOTAL (for eight wickets in 48.1 overs)223

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-23, 3-84, 4-112, 5-133, 6-148, 7-151, 8-222

Bowling: Abbott 10-0-44-4 (2nb, 2w), Onions 7-1-30-1 (1w), Alexander 7.1-0-36 0 (3w), Frylinck 9-0-44-0 (1w), Smit 10-0-39-2 (2w), Delport 4-0-22-1, Khan 1-0-6-0

Result: Warriors won by two wickets.

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