Terrific start for Dolphins

2008-10-02 00:00

“IF at the beginning of the day you had told us that we would get the Titans out for 211, we would have taken it,” was KZN Dolphins captain Ahmed Amla’s summation of a most satisfying first day of the SuperSport Series match at Kingsmead yesterday.

The Northern Titans were asked to bat after Amla won what may turn out to be a crucial toss and the Dolphins never looked back as captain Pierre Joubert’s side were all out by late afternoon.

In reply to the Titans’ 211, the Dolphins were on 11 without loss at stumps, with opening batsman Rivash Gobind having been dropped by Paul Harris in Ethy Mbhalati’s third over.

“We started well and with the wicket having a bit in it for the new-ball bowlers, they were on 13 for three before long,” Amla told The Witness after yesterday’s play.

The early start to the season, some two weeks before the traditional SS Series commencement date, also played a role in the bouncy, helpful track.

A fourth-wicket partnership of 101 off 193 balls between Martin van Jaarsveld and Gulam Bodi rescued the Titans somewhat, but the stand was broken by Jon Kent when he had Van Jaarsveld caught by Amla at first slip for a solid 58 that included nine fours and a huge six.

“It was a decent partnership, but we fought back well and, who knows, had the edges gone to hand instead of just wide of the catchers, we might have rolled them for 150,” Amla said.

Bodi edged leg-spinner Daryn Smit’s first ball to HD Ackerman for 62, which included 10 fours. At one stage, Smit had two for eight after catching Harris off his own bowling.

Smit, an outstanding wicketkeeper, is also an extremely competent leg-spinner. “Daryn is like an extra player to us and I believe he could play for South Africa as a cricketer in either discipline,” said Amla.

The Titans top order of Heino Kuhn, Rushdi Jappie and Faf du Plessis were sent packing early by Johann Louw, Quinton Friend and Ugasen Govender.

“The guys bowled as a unit and the pressure came from both sides,” said Amla.

The Dolphins left out Yusuf Abdullah and Saidi Mhlongo, while Basheer Walters and Blake Snijman were the unlucky ones in the Titans squad.

“It was a tough call, but Yusuf has played a lot of cricket for South Africa A recently,” Amla said.

“It will be hard work tomorrow [today] and weather permitting we will be hoping to bat all day and only lose six or seven wickets, which would put us in a good position,” said Amla. “Alternatively we would still like to get a lead of 100 or so.”

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