Khan keeps Dolphins on top
Imraan Khan (Gallo Images)
Pietermaritzburg - Nashua Dolphins captain Imraan Khan brushed off losing the toss and being asked to bat by crafting a magnificent, unbeaten 161 on day one of the SuperSport Series cricket match against the Chevrolet Warriors at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg Thursday.
The home franchise reached 328 for three at the close of play after 97 overs.
Khan's superb knock lasted 394 minutes and 323 deliveries, and included 27 fours.
He featured in a second-wicket stand of 74 with Brad Moses, a third wicket 80 with England batsman Kevin Pietersen, and an unbroken fourth of 169 with the compact Ahmed Amla.
Amla was in top form in an unbeaten 79 in 185 minutes off 137 balls, punctuated with eight fours and a six.
The fair sprinkling of spectators who came to see Pietersen's rare appearance in the KwaZulu-Natal capital were not disappointed with his batting, but rather the way he got out.
Having creamed 13 runs off the previous over, Pietersen attempted to loft spinner Jon Jon Smuts over the long-on fence but instead offered a stunning catch well-taken above the shoulder by mid-on Andrew Birch.
Pietersen's 36 came in 73 minutes off just 48 balls and included six boundaries, looking every inch a world-class batsman.
All the while, Khan was cutting, driving and pulling with absolute command in a superb innings that also necessitated watchful defence and the utmost concentration in the morning session as Birch and Makhaya Ntini, in particular, got the ball to deviate in the air and off the pitch.
Opening batsman Divan van Wyk (3) was trapped in front by the willing Birch, who gave it his all throughout the day.
Van Wyk was brought into the side after his heroics for KZN Coastal against Gauteng in the CSA Provincial Challenge Series the week before in Johannesburg.
First wicket Bradley Moses (26) withstood a barrage of short-pitched deliveries from the burly first-change bowler Basheer Walters and played a key two-hour role in blunting the Warriors' initial thrust before falling to paceman Ntini, who ran in hard all day.