|Durban – The Hollywoodbets Dolphins snatched an unlikely RAM SLAM T20 Challenge home semi-final with an emphatic 89-run bonus-point win over a woeful Multiply Titans at Kingsmead on Sunday.
The result, combined with a rain-induced no-result at the Wanderers between the Lions and Knights, and the Cobras 18-run loss to the Warriors in East London, means the Durban franchise eased up to second on the log and will face the Cobras at Kingsmead on Thursday. The Titans will host the Warriors in the first semi-final on Wednesday.
The rain came and disrupted the Hollywoodbets Dolphins match at Kingsmead for the sixth time this year, but for once there was no disappointment with no overs lost and the hosts were so far in front the disruption just delayed the inevitable.
Thanks to a strong top-order onslaught, some effective bowling and a woefully indifferent display from the log-topping Titans, the Dolphins score of 168 for seven was never in danger. When the rain made its appearance, the visitors were wobbling on 39 for six in the 12th over.
The Titans eventually struggled to 79 all out with two balls remaining in a display that in no way reflected their status as the top T20 side in the country, no doubt partially due to the severely weakened squad which travelled from Pretoria.
For the Dolphins, Morne van Wyk was the hero with the bat as his 67 laid the foundations for a total that was always going to be testing, but he was more than ably backed up by a solid performance with the ball, with all seven bowlers who were used sharing the wickets, while nobody went for more than five runs an over.
The most expensive was Imraan Tahir with his four overs costing just 20 runs, but with two wickets and a stunning diving catch in the deep to remove Junior Dala off Andile Phehlukwayo, there is certainly no need for forgiveness.
The bowlers were all efficient with Prenelan Subrayen and Keshav Maharaj also getting two apiece as the Titans batters struggled – Rivaldo Moonsamy and Tabraiz Shamsi top-scored for the visitors with a meagre 15 runs each.
The Dolphins won the toss and elected to bat first against an attack that was missing a host of rested players, including Albie Morkel, Aiden Markram and Lungi Ngidi – three of the top four bowlers on the competition’s bowling averages going into the match. Also off the field was prolific run machine AB de Villiers and fellow Proteas stars Quinton de Kock and Farhaan Behardien.
The Titans started with Dean Elgar’s slow left arm, allowing van Wyk and Vaughn van Jaarsveld to get off to a quick start with 11 runs from the opening over. The opening pair continued to lay a perfect foundation with their 50 partnership coming at the end of the first six overs, shortly after Van Jaarsveld was dropped by Shaun Vonberg at mid off – the first of four dropped chances by the unusually lacklustre Titans fielders.
Vonberg enjoyed his revenge two overs later, however, when he drew Van Jaarsveld (28 runs off 28 balls) out of his crease and Heinrich Klaasen whipped off the bails, bringing to an end the 66-run partnership that lasted 47 balls.
Dane Vilas (29 off 15) took over from Van Jaarsveld and helped Van Wyk to his second 50 partnership before he also fell victim to Vonberg while going for the maximum over mid on but finding Tony Dezorzi on the boundary rope.
Van Wyk fell in the 16th over when he was clean bowled by Junior Dala. For the second time in three days the experienced opener provided the backbone of the Hollywoodbets Dolphin innings and his 69 came off 41 balls included 10 fours. His 50 came off 27 balls.
Van Wyk’s departure saw the run rate drop below nine to the over as first Sibonelo Makhanya (6 off 10) fell without injecting any urgency, and then Khayelihle Zondo (23 off 19), Robbie Frylinck (2 off 3) and Keshav Maharaj (0 off 2) all went with the score on 162 in the space of four balls, leaving Andile Phehlukwayo (5 off 2) and Prenelan Subrayen (0 off 1) not out at the end.