Dolphins’ Delport makes CPLT20 debut for T&T Red Steel

Sunfoil Dolphins’ hard-hitting left-hander Cameron Delport got his 2015 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPLT20) campaign underway on Sunday when he turned out for the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel against the St Lucia Zouks in the competition’s rain hampered second match.

Turning out with South African great Jacques Kallis, 2014/15 RAM Slam T20 Sunfoil Dolphins team mate Dwayne Bravo, former Proteas off-spinner Johan Botha, Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman ’s Kamran Akmal and West Indian international Sulieman Benn, the former Westville Boys’ High School pupil was eager to put on a good show for the passionate supporters in attendance.

“It was pretty cool to make my CPL debut the other night!” said Delport. “Obviously the islands are pretty small here so when we walk around the streets then there’s a great hype amongst the general public.”

“The fans are just so loud and so passionate about whichever team they support and there is such a hype so to have finally experienced it on Sunday was really cool!” added the youngster who in the 2014/15 South African domestic season, grabbed headlines the world over when he and Sunfoil Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk put a record highest limited overs 367-run partnership.

Having won the toss and elected to field first, Red Steel’s bowlers were put to the sword somewhat by the Zouks’ top order as the hosts amassed 179/6 in their allotted 20 overs – a new record highest score in a CPLT20 match at Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia.

During his side’s time in the field, Delport wasted little time in making his first major contribution to the tournament when he and Kallis combined successfully to see the back of the destructive Kevin Pietersen (42 off 26 balls).

Delport and Kallis combined once more at the start of their side’s batting inning as the pair strode out to the middle as opening partners, eager to get their side’s campaign off on a winning note.

Kallis started positively as he smashed both a six and a four off West Indian quick Shannon Gabriel in the opening over however the Red Steel’s reply was brought to an abrupt halt just five balls in by the arriving inclement weather, ending Delport’s maiden effort with the blade before it had even begun.

“It would have been great to have faced a ball against the Zouks; the wicket looked really good but I guess it’s just one of things and just to have sat on the other end and watched one the best all-rounders ever – King Kallis – smash the ball was incredible.

“Getting the opportunity to bat alongside Jacques is really amazing; it’s both an honour and a privilege for me,” added the emerging young talent who was also recently named as a part of the South African ‘A’ limited overs squad set to face up to India ‘A’ and Australia ‘A’ in India in July and August.

A regular member of the Sunfoil Dolphins’ limited over sides, Delport won the hearts of many of the passionate Indian cricketing fraternity at last year’s Oppo Champions League T20 when he blitzed his way to 34 off just nine deliveries, including five fours and two sixes, against the mighty Chennai Super Kings before getting his first taste of the KFC T20 Big Bash League in Australia where he got his first opportunity to call the great South African all-rounder his team mate.

“Batting with Jacques is something I never ever thought would happen but we had a short stint together at Sydney Thunder last year and it will now be really cool to try get ten games opening the batting alongside him here in the CPL.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and trying to take on as much knowledge as I can from him that will hopefully help me build my game as a twenty20 opener as well.

“The game is evolving quite a bit each day and so to be able to work closely with Jacques is a big honour for me and I’m really fortunate to be given this opportunity,” said the 26 year-old Durban North resident.

When not on Sunfoil Dolphins, Sydney Thunder or Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel duty, Delport also a regular on the KwaZulu-Natal club cricket circuit with April 2015 having seen him play a vital role in aiding in Crusaders Cricket Club becoming the first KZN-based club to win the CSA National Club Championships.

Delport and his fellow Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel team mates will next be in action in Barbados on Thursday when they take on the Barbados Tridents at the Kensington Oval.