Viljoen's marathon spell seals Lions victory

Hardus Viljoen (Gallo Images)
Hardus Viljoen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Hardus Viljoen stormed to his third 10-wicket match haul in first-class cricket to earn the Highveld Lions a hard-fought victory over the Dolphins on the final evening of their Sunfoil Series clash at the Wanderers.

With the Dolphins threatening to hold out for the draw after Imraan Khan’s century had taken a chunk of time out of the final day, Viljoen picked up four wickets in a marathon spell with the second new ball to dismiss the Dolphins for 310 and wrap up a 79-run win.

The Dolphins thus fell around eight overs short of saving the match, and Viljoen finished with 6 for 113 in 30.5 overs in the innings and 10 for 157 in the match.

The Dolphins had gone into the final day with nine wickets in hand, and Khan’s 101 in almost four hours gave them an excellent chance of seeing the day out.

He batted for more than a session in a 107-run stand for the third wicket with Cody Chetty, who did his best to stonewall the Lions bowlers.

Although Viljoen broke the stand when he found the outside edge of Khan’s bat, the Dolphins middle order all contributed as time looked to be slipping away from the Lions.

The Dolphins lost Chetty (23 in almost three hours) and Daryn Smit (20 in over an hour) to reach tea on 224 for five, but with the second new ball just one over old.

Viljoen then made the critical breakthrough when he trapped David Miller lbw for 33 half an hour into the final session, and he went on to bowl a 14-over spell until he had finished the job.

Sibonelo Makhanya was bowled for 26, Mathew Pillans was snaffled at short leg, and after Pumelela Matshikwe had weighed in with the dismissal of Thandi Tshabalala, Viljoen wrapped up the match by bowling Ayavuya Myoli.

Calvin Savage was stranded on 20 not out after spending nearly an hour and a half at the crease, as Viljoen outlasted the rest of the Dolphins batsmen to claim a deserved victory.

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