Johannebsurg - The Nashua Dolphins claimed their first win of the Supersport Series by completing a nine wicket victory inside three days at the Sahara Kingsmead stadium today, in spite of rain and bad light threatening to wreak havoc from the start of the contest.
While there was much fuss made over Kevin Pietersen's short stint with the Dolphins in the build-up to this game, it was the home-sides leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, who was thrust into the limelight with his match-winning efforts.
Tahir, a discard from the Titans, got the statisticians scratching their heads, trying to recall the last time a leg-spinner bagged twelve wickets in the match at Kingsmead which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two teams.
In the first innings, Tahir tore the Titans batting efforts to shreds with his seven wickets, he stung them yet again in the second innings with another five which took his tally of wickets to 23 after three Supersport games.
Going into the Day three, the Visitors were still very much in the contest and they would have been rather chuffed by knocking over the Dolphins tail in quick time. Ethy Mbhalati, the Titans most impressive bowler in the Friday's play, completed his fifer when he clean bowled Friend who was stuck on ten runs.
Tahir scored two streaky runs before he skied a Cornelius de Villiers delivery to Gerhardus Viljoen who was positioned at mid-on.
Having restricted the Dolphins lead to just 42 runs, the Titans would have felt they were right-back in the contest. But they were never allowed to claw their way back into the match as the home side were able to claim five wickets in the extended morning session.
The two wickets lost in the first over of the Titans second innings, marked the start of their woes. Blake Snijman fiddled with a delivery that was directed down the leg side and keeper Darren Smith gladly accepted the catch off a Friend delivery.
Two balls later, Friend trapped Gulam Bodi leg before wicket.
Titans captain Jacques Rudolf and Farhaan Behaardien tried to stem the flow of wickets. But their third wicket stand which lasted 63 minutes and produced 27 runs, ended when Rudolf got a feint edge to a John Kent delivery.
Dolphin's quick bowler Kyle Abbot, who had Behaardien put down by Ahmed Amla at second slip eventually got the middle order batsman to edge a delivery to the safe hands of Smith.
At this stage Tahir, was already firing his leg-spinners at the Titans batsmen. Heino Kuhn was his first victim, trapped leg before wicket.
Henry Davids fell in the same manner as Kuhn when he was flummoxed by Tahir's top-spinner, the Titans tally of runs at that stage was 90.
The seventh Titans wicket fell when Cobus Pienaar pulled a Friend delivery straight toTahir positioned on the fine leg boundary. Thereafter, Tahir wrapped up the visitors tail by bagging the wickets of De Villiers, Viljoen and Mbhalati.
In their quest for victory, the Dolphins lost the wicket of captain Imran Khan who was beaten by a de Villiers delivery that left him. Kuhn took the catch.
Newcomers Divan Van Wyk and Brad Moses, steered the home side to victory in the 17th over with an unbeaten 55 run partnership for the second wicket.