The Hollywoodbets Dolphins fell to a 58 run loss to the log-leading Multiply Titans in the first match of the CSA T20 Challenge double header at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The Centurion franchise set the Durbanites an imposing target of 186 for victory, after a 93 run partnership between Farhaan Behardien and Heino Kuhn saw the defending champions break the shackles set by tight bowling by the Dolphins in the first half of their innings.
Openers Cameron Delport and skipper Morne van Wyk added 22 for the first wicket before Delport departed for 7, bringing former England international Kevin Pietersen to the crease.
Van Wyk became the first South African player to reach the milestone of 2500 first class T20 runs in his innings of 41 off 44 balls.
Pietersen added 24 off 23 balls and looked to be setting a platform to challenge that victory target before Van Wyk and Pietersen fell within two overs of each other, and the Hollywoodbets Dolphins run chase lost all its momentum.
As the pressure mounted wickets fell at regular intervals on a pitch that was slowing as the day wore on. A bright 13 by Mbasa Gqaduse added resilience to their tail, but couldn’t prevent the Titans from wrapping up the bonus point win.
Earlier Morne van Wyk asked the Titans to bat first and opened with spinner Prenelen Subrayen, who came in for the injured Rabian Engelbrecht, who was battling with a back strain, and Mthokozisi Shezi. They pegged back the dangerous log leaders, who were 73 for the loss of one at the halfway point in their innings.
The momentum shifted once Protea all rounder Farhaan Behardien came to the crease and fired an unbeaten 65 off 32 balls to get the Pretoria outfit to a challenging total of 185 for four wickets.
Robbie Frylinck broke the dangerous third wicket partnership with a sharp run out off his own bowling that had a backing up Heino Kuhn stranded well short of his ground. The rest of the wickets were shared between Kyle Nipper, Imran Tahir and Cameron Delport.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins travel to Cape Town for the second match of their four match road trip, where they will play the BuildNat Cape Cobras on Wednesday evening.