So close for Dolphins

2014-09-22 00:00

IT was a spirited performance, one that astounded their supporters and, while points must be given for character and determination, the Dolphins were their own worst enemies in the end.

In their opening Champions League clash against the Perth Scorchers on Saturday, the Dolphins were right in the thick of things — they could have won, they were winning — until the final ball sailed over the fence for a six-wicket win for the Australian outfit.

Until then, the Dolphins had the advantage. They had batted first and recovered from a wobbly 45-4 within the mandatory six-over powerplay, to a defendable 164-7, thanks to Khaya Zondo’s 63* from 50 balls and contributions of 29 from Keshav Maharaj and 21 from Daryn Smit. Debutant Andile Phehlukwayo’s 14 and Robbie Frylinck’s 15* cannot be underestimated, the latter’s brief knock containing two sixes that carried the Dolphins beyond the 160-mark.

Earlier, the top order had been decimated by left-armer Joel Paris who accounted for Morne van Wyk (4) and Cody Chetty (0), first ball. Jason Behrendorff, who finished with three scalps, added Cameron Delport (8) to have the Dolphins reeling at 12-3 after 1.3 overs.

That they recovered to make a game of it was above commendable, but it was all thrown away in a brief instant when Frylinck, who had enjoyed a solid match up to that point, was entrusted with the final over. Sixteen runs were needed and with a wicket and four runs off the first four balls, it should have been game over. Having bowled superbly, Frylinck then lost the plot, bowling a waist-high full toss that Mitchell Marsh smashed over mid-wicket for six, followed by another full toss, slightly lower, which did the trick for the Scorchers.

Heartbreak, but such is the nature of T20 cricket. Van Wyk was reflective but positive “It could have gone either way,” he said. “I feel for Robbie [Frylinck]. He is a key player in our side and the reason we are playing in this tournament. He will get it right next time. I am proud of how we hung in, pulled it back and came so close.”

Coach Lance Klusener said the side was hurting but many positives were taken out the game. “They showed tremendous courage and were positive after a difficult start,” he said. “We have realised we are competitive and belong here.”

Yesterday, the Dolphins travelled across India to Bangalore for today’s match against the Chennai Super Kings. It doesn’t get any easier but, having shown what they are capable of, the Dolphins could go all the way this time around.

It looks as though the same team will be chosen, with no major injury concerns. Today’s match is on SuperSport 2 from 4.15 pm.

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