Knights dominate Dolphins
Johan van der Wath (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - The Chevrolet Knights ended the second day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Sunfoil Dolphins in a dominating position, enjoying a massive lead of 244 with one wicket in hand.
This was primarily due to the veteran Johan van der Wath. His bowling may not be as sharp as it was, but he destroyed the Sunfoil Dolphins attack with a career best innings of 154, aided by Werner Coetsee and Shadley van Schalkwyk. Kyle Abbott took four wickets but even he was hardly able to stop a succession of solid tail-end partnerships.
The day started uncertainly for the Chevrolet Knights. Dean Elgar and Rudi Second stretched their partnership to 58 before Abbott made the breakthrough. Three more followed in quick succession, and some time before lunch the Knights were tottering on 108 for six, still trailing the Sunfoil Dolphins by 113 runs. The fightback started when Van der Wath joined Coetsee at the crease. The pair added 66 before lunch, and continued the good work after the break.
The seventh wicket partnership was evenutally worth 161 in 45 overs, a new record for the Chevrolet Knights in matches against the Sunfoil Dolphins . Daryn Smit used eight bowlers, including himself, in an effort to break through. Smit had a few seasons where he bowled his leg-spinners regularly, but has concentrated on his wicketkeeping in recent times. It was he who made the breakthrough by dismissing Coetsee for 69, made off 124 balls. This was shortly before the tea break, by which time Van der Wath had already gone to his third first-class century.
There was no respite for the Sunfoil Dolphins after the interval. Van der Wath dominated partnerships of 77 for the eighth wicket in fourteen overs with Dillon du Preez and 48 in eleven overs with Van Schalkwyk. Van der Wath was eventually stumped by stand-in keeper Divan van Wyk off Smit for 154, by far his highest first-class score. He faced 223 balls and struck 19 fours and three sixes. The Dolphins were delighted to see the back of the tall all-rounder, but might have been jittery about facing a few overs at the end of the day.
They need not have worried about that, as Van Schalkwyk and last man Malusi Siboto thrashed another 71 runs in the remaining 18 overs without being parted. Van Schalkwyk ended the day on 66, compiled off 94 balls with seven fours and a six, and Siboto has contributed 26.
Abbott was the stand-out bowler on a disappointing day for the Sunfoil Dolphins, finishing with four for 103 in 31 overs. Smit picked up two wickets. The Sunfoil Dolphins had much to rue with their fielding. Several catches were put down which might have ended the innings much earlier. Van der Wath was dropped by Smit on 31 just after tea, and again on 136 by Cody Chetty. Coetsee also had a life on 40, just before the lunch break.
An overnight declaration is a possibility, but already the Sunfoil Dolphins will be hard pressed to do anything more than save the match. The resurgence of the Chevrolet Knights has left the home side with a handy lead of 9.38 to 5.42 in the bonus point stakes.