Dolphins win in the wet
Potchefstroom - Andrew Hall produced his renown death bowling skills for the Dolphins as he led them to a 21-run victory on the Duckworth/Lewis method over the Highveld Lions in their MTN40 match in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
Hall bowled his last six overs of the match from the University End and claimed two for 31 to ensure a comfortable victory for the Dolphins with rain providing a controversial twist in affairs.
A second rain delay occurred at 21:50 with the Lions on 102 for five in the 22nd over and the players only returned to the field at 22:20.
Although no one could find the provision in the new playing conditions, play was extended until 23:10 and the Lions were left with a revised target of 195 in 31 overs, needing 93 off 57 balls upon their return. There was also confusion over the reduction in powerplay overs.
Yusuf Abdulla had earlier struck twice for the Dolphins to put them in charge as the Lions initially went for a target of 217 in 38 overs.
The Lions' batsmen were in need of more luck as three of them were bowled edging wide deliveries into their own stumps.
Jean Symes and Alviro Petersen opened the batting, with Petersen the more aggressive of the two. Symes had gone studiously to seven off 13 balls when he was bowled by Quinton Friend, lured into driving at a wide delivery but only succeeding in dragging it into his stumps.
Friend then fell foul of experienced Lions skipper Neil McKenzie, who hit him for four successive fours in the sixth over, but Abdulla (two for 24) was bowling superbly at the other end, swinging the ball at lively pace and with good accuracy.
Petersen was then bowled by Abdulla for 19 off 25 balls, his big drive outside off stump edging the ball into his stumps. The right-hander perhaps would have been better off leaving the delivery or at least moving his feet to ensure he was not playing so far away from his body.
Abdulla then dismissed Vaughn van Jaarsveld for a duck with his next delivery to deal a hammer blow to the Lions, the left-hander conspiring to chip a return catch which the bowler took one-handed.
Abdulla's double-strike meant the Lions had slipped to 48 for three but McKenzie, collecting six fours, mostly with textbook cover drives, and Jonathan Vandiar stayed together for 8.2 overs.
They added another 38 runs, with Vandiar rather hogging the strike, before McKenzie, the delivery after a sublime cover drive for four, dragged a wide ball from Alfonso Thomas back on to his stumps. McKenzie had scored 33 off 31 balls and looked in top-class form.
The strategic break was taken with the Lions on 90 for four and coach Dave Nosworthy would have yelled with frustration when Vandiar lamely chipped the first ball after the break, from leg-spinner Daryn Smit, straight to Ahmed Amla at long-on. The 19-year-old had scored a patient 24 off 41 deliveries, but the bowlers, Thomas in particular, had made his life hell.
Hall had just bowled the first over in a top-class spell and claimed a crucial wicket in his next over after the rain break when Werner Coetsee (eight) tried to drive a full delivery outside the off stump on to the leg-side and could only edge a catch to Smit, who had returned to keeping wicket.
At that stage the Dolphins were in firm control with the Lions needing 88 off 49 balls, but Zander de Bruyn and Thami Tsolekile threatened a dramatic turnaround as they hammered 52 runs off the next 36 deliveries.
But Hall, bowling beautiful yorkers, knocked over De Bruyn's middle stump to end a sensible innings of 38 off 35 balls that perhaps lacked the cavalier charge the Lions really needed.
Tsolekile played some lusty blows in scoring 27 not out off 22 balls, but the Dolphins, Hall in particular, showed they had the nerves for the occasion.
Hashim Amla had earlier scored 78 on a pitch which no other batsmen found easy to lead the Dolphins to 216 all out.
Play remarkably began on time at a sodden Senwes Park after rain for much of the day, but there was a 40-minute interruption in the eighth over of the Dolphins innings, which reduced the match to 38 overs a side.
The break was perhaps why Loots Bosman, who had helped Amla add 44 off 47 balls for the second wicket after the loss of Imraan Khan (nought) in the first over, failed to add to a promising innings of 19 before being dismissed in the second over after the players' return.
Bosman inside-edged a wild heave to long-on to present wicketkeeper Tsolekile with an easy catch off Friedel de Wet, the same combination that accounted for Khan.
Hashim and his brother Ahmed then added 52 off 72 balls for the third wicket, but it was an uphill battle as Lions spinners Aaron Phangiso and Coetsee made their life hell with outstanding, tight bowling.
Slow left-armer Phangiso, in particular, gave the batsmen little leeway and bowled Ahmed Amla for 32 when he conned the batsman into thinking the slog-sweep was on.
It was shortly after the strategic timeout and that little conference no doubt decided that the first batting powerplay needed to be taken soon. Young David Miller came in and was tasked with hitting the necessary boundaries, but his inexperience showed and he could make just 12 off 19 balls before he came down the pitch and drove Phangiso to McKenzie at extra cover.
Hashim Amla's role was clearly to bat through the innings and he reached his half-century off 71 balls, but the bowlers remained on top through the first batting powerplay with just 22 runs being scored.
De Wet came back on in the last over of the powerplay to claim the second wicket of that phase, Tsolekile once again doing the catching as Hall's feet were stuck firmly on the crease.
The Dolphins had slumped to 130 for five but, to their credit, they wiped the slate clean and took their final powerplay after 30 overs, with Amla and Cameron Delport slamming 44 runs in the next five overs.
As ever, elegant was the word to describe Amla's innings as he stroked his 78 off 90 balls but, with the slog on in the 34th over, he gave it away in ugly fashion as he missed a heave across the line at Andre Nel and was bowled.
But Delport (21 off 13), Louw (11 off 10) and Smit (23 off 12) ensured the momentum created by the powerplay was continued, with the Dolphins eventually being bowled out in the final over.
Nel licked his lips and bowled the death overs with typical bravura and claimed four wickets in that time to finish with four for 49 in 7.5 overs.
De Wet was zippy and his three for 33 was one of the highlights in the field for the Lions, with Phangiso's two for 32 in eight overs also ensuring the Lions would have been whistling a happy tune during the innings break.
It all went wrong for them with the bat, however, and they are still stuck on zero points after three winless games. The Dolphins have four points after losing their opening game to the Eastern Cape Warriors.
Alviro Petersen, Jean Symes, Neil McKenzie, Jonathan Vandiar, Zander de Bruyn, Werner Coetsee, Thami Tsolekile, Cliffie Deacon, Aaron Phangiso, Jimmy Kgamadi, Friedel de Wet, Andre Nel
Imraan Khan, Loots Bosman, Hashim Amla, Ahmed Amla, Dave Miller, Cameron Delport, Andrew Hall, Daryn Smit, Johann Louw, Quinton Friend, Alfonso Thomas, Yusuf Abdulla