Khan steers Dolphins to win over Lions

2008-12-21 00:00

Opening batsman Imraan Khan’s rich form continued at the Oval yesterday as the KZN Dolphins beat the Highveld Lions by five wickets in the last over of their MTN Domestic Championship match.

After winning the toss, the Lions scored 229 all out while the Dolphins made 230 for five, with HD Ackerman and Pierre de Bruyn piloting them home and into fourth spot.

Dolphins captain Ahmed Amla said he was pleased with his side’s batting.

“Imraan Khan, in particular, is in sublime form, while I was impressed with the way HD Ackerman used his experience to guide us home at the end,” said Amla. “We must work on our bowling, though, as there were too many extras, but we’re developing a winning momentum.”

After an expensive opening spell, Dolphins first-change Quinton Friend had Jean Symes caught behind by wicket-keeper Daryn Smit with the total 53 and first-wicket Dane Vilas was bowled next ball.

In his first over, medium-fast Jon Kent got the next wicket as Jonathan Vandiar perished to a brilliant leg-side stumping by Smit. What made it special was that the umpire ruled a wide ball. A notable aspect of the Lions innings was the dismissal of Petersen (51 runs, 70 balls, five fours) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (52, 58b, 5x4, 1x6) just as they threatened to take the game away from the Dolphins and it contributed to denying the visitors a 250-plus total. However, lusty hitting by the Lions tailenders resulted in a respectable target.

After lunch, the Dolphins lost Sanath Jayasuriya when he attempted to pull Andre Nel, but only reached wide mid-on. Khan, however, batted beautifully, several scorching drives piercing the field as he and Amla brought up the 100 partnership off 99 balls. The pair rotated the strike well, picking holes in the field.

Khan was dropped on six — a regulation slip catch to Werner Coetsee off Nel — and he made the Lions pay. Amla also had a life when he was on 55. This time it was wicketkeeper Mathew Harris who missed a stumping off Coetsee. But he didn’t last much longer following a top-edge and made 58 off 59 balls with eight fours.

Not long after, Khan went for 74 (82b, 11x4), the victim of a caught-and-bowled to Richard Cameron’s gentle seamers. The run rate had slowed, but the Dolphins were still there with 146 for three after 30 overs, while the Lions were 150 for five at the two-thirds stage.

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