Pacemen crumble top-order

2008-11-02 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins were involved in their fourth drawn match yesterday in the four matches they have played so far in the SuperSport Series four-day competition.

At close of play yesterday brought on by the inevitable bad light at Kingsmead, the Dolphins were fighting a rearguard action against the Eastern Cape Warriors in their second innings and managed to limp to 168 for seven when the light was deemed too bad for further play.

Why the authorities bother to play first-class cricket in Durban in October and early November is mystifying. It is simply a waste of time as yet another match was ruined here -— in this case over 80 overs were lost — and the Warriors have every right to be annoyed at the chance of an outright win gone begging.

Set 274 to win on the fourth day, the Dolphins top order again collapsed in the face of the penetrative Warriors opening bowlers.

At lunch on day four, the Dolphins were in dire straits at 35 for five as Makhaya Ntini and Lonwabo Tsotsobe again knocked over the top order.

Gobind went in the third over and Rowley in the sixth, victims of Ntini and Tsotsobe respectively. Then Ahmed Amla in the 10th over (Tsotsobe), David Miller in the 13th (lbw Ntini) and Jon Kent next ball (lbw Ntini).

In the Dolphins’ first innings, the Ntini/Tsotsobe strike pairing had reduced the home side to 22 for three, an indication of the stranglehold they had over opener Rivash Gobind (scores of 2 and 0, faced 22 balls in the match) and first wicket Grant Rowley (9 and 4, faced 23 balls in the match) in particular.

Man of the match Makhaya Ntini was the Warriors’ most successful bowler as he finished the innings with figures of three for 24 to go with his first innings return of six for 85, for match figures of nine for 109. Tsotsobe was an admirable foil at the other end, with five for 98 in the match.

There were two vital partnerships that saved the Dolphins.

Returning after lunch with the total on 35 for five, in-form opening batsman Imraan Khan and the fighter that is Pierre de Bruyn stuck it out in building a 26-run stand before De Bruyn departed and the home side were 59 for six.

Another tough-minded cricketer, the multi-talented Daryn Smit, joined Khan and they compiled a crucial 78 run for the seventh wicket before the loss of Khan brought fast bowler Quinton Friend to the crease. He maintained focus in facing 48 deliveries in a stand that used up 15 overs with Smit to frustrate the Warriors’ hopes.

Earlier, the Warriors had resumed on their overnight 86 for three, and Zander de Bruyn hit 56 before Ugasen Govender bowled him, whereupon the Warriors declared at 175 for eight.

Opening bowler Govender, with four for 63, was the Dolphins’ most successful bowler in the innings.

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