Fabulous all-round performances by Robbie Frylinck and Senuran Muthusamy ensured the Dolphins remained on track to defend their One Day Cup title after they booked their ticket to Thursday's final with a narrow three-wicket win over the Cape Cobras on Monday.
SCORECARD | One Day Cup semi-final: Dolphins v Cape Cobras
In a low-scoring affair at Senwes Park, both men took two wickets apiece to help the defending champions bowl out their opponents for just 196.
They were then even better with the bat, sharing in a fixture record sixth-wicket partnership of 112 with half-centuries to rescue their side from 58 for five, before ensuring they chased down the target with 7.3 overs to spare.
Veteran Frylinck did marginally better by scoring 62 off 60 balls (5 fours) and claiming two for 25 in 9.2 overs, while Muthusamy recorded 57 off 82 balls (5 fours) to go with his two for 34 in nine overs.
The Dolphins, who won their only two matches that were completed in a rain-ravaged group stage, now await the winner of the Lions and Knights last-four showdown on Tuesday ahead of the deciding game later in the week.
All the matches are being hosted in a bio-secure environment (BSE) hosted in Potchefstroom.
Imraan Khan's side will feel fully justified by their progress against an improved Cobras, especially after their display with the ball.
They were superb from the time they won the toss and opted to bowl first, allowing only Tony de Zorzi to make a significant impact with this 61 off 71 balls (5 fours).
The opener shared in a strong 81-run second-wicket stand with Jason Smith (37) and had taken Ashwell Prince’s charges to an encouraging 123 for three before he departed in the 30th over.
That threw the Cobras into a bit of a panic as the middle and lower-order failed to make any significant impact. Only Onke Nyaku (25) managed to cross 20, with Ottniel Baartman (3/15) proving a real dangerman for the KwaZulu-Natal side alongside the likes of Frylinck, Muthusamy and captain Prenelan Subrayen (2/45).
That left the Dolphins with a modest target, but they made a real hash of the chase by slipping into big trouble early on.
Corbin Bosch (2/52) and Imran Manack (2/36) were made the early inroads for the Cobras to leave their opponents on the ropes by the 18th over. At that stage, only Grant Roelofsen (34) had managed to trouble the bowlers.
However, the lower order delivered as it has done so on many occasions previously for the Dolphins.
While Muthusamy dropped anchor, Frylinck waited for the bad deliveries to capitalise - the pair rebuilding and then taking their side to the brink with a record fixture stand, which broke the previous mark of 110 set by Cody Chetty and Khaya Zondo set at Durban in 2013/14.
By the time they were dismissed, the finish line was in sight and Subrayen (7*) and Eathan Bosch (9*) completed the job for their side.
The second semi-final, which sees the Lions take on the Knights, is scheduled for Tuesday (10:00).
Scores in brief:
Cape Cobras 196 all out (De Zorzi 61, Baartman 3/15)
Dolphins 197/7 in 42 (Frylinck 62, Manack 2/38)
Result: Dolphins win by three wickets
- Cricket South Africa