Smit takes Dolphins to top of the Pro20 log

2009-01-25 00:00

“IF you had offered us seven points after those two games last week, I would have grabbed them off you.”

Those were the words of KZN Dolphins team manager Jay Naidoo, after the side’s roadtrip saw them blow very hot then rather cold but still come through unbeaten to top the Standard Bank Pro20 series log.

The Dolphins were very good on Friday night, thumping the Diamond Eagles in their own backyard. Yet it was a different story yesterday at SuperSport Centurion, as rain saved the KZN side from what looked likely to be a loss to the Titans.

121 for nine was simply not enough, but the Dolphins have now used up their “get out of jail free” card. “I think in any competition you do need that bit of luck to succeed,” Naidoo conceded yesterday.

The Dolphins were blown away by a record-breaking spell from Ethy Mbhalathi. The Titans seamer was metronomical, bowling his four overs for just six runs, with two wickets and a maiden thrown in for good measure.

In the process, he set a new mark for the lowest number of runs conceded in a Pro20 spell, and the Dolphins top-order simply had no answer. It took them 23 balls to register the first boundary, a clubbed six by Grant Rowley, and by then it was clear that the Dolphins would struggle to mount a serious total.

The innings stumbled along at four runs an over, with wickets falling regularly and boundaries being scarcer than a spare seat on Centurion’s over-populated grass embankments.

At 70 for seven on 16 overs, the Dolphins were given hope by a late assault by the impressive Daryn Smit.

He bludgeoned his way to a crucial 31 off just 17 balls. There was certainly a case for Smit coming in ahead of Pierre de Bruyn yesterday, as the latter struggled to lift the tempo and even played out a maiden- criminal in this form of the game.

Naidoo said Smit’s ability will be used to greater effect.

The rich weekend harvest of points now sees the Dolphins handily placed to make the play-offs, and with two home games to come they are eyeing a home semi. “If we win our two games at home, then that will earn us a home semi-final, which is crucial.”

The Dolphins host the Cape Cobras on Friday, and they will be eager to keep their spot at the head of the table and get ever closer to a spot in the finals which will guarantee a spot in the Champions Trophy later this year.

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