Maharaj five-for puts pressure on VBK Knights

Rudi Second’s 10th first-class century prevented the Sunfoil Dolphins from getting their noses too far in front as Keshav Maharaj’s five-wicket haul put the pressure on the VKB Knights in their Sunfoil Series clash at the Diamond Oval.

Second’s unbeaten 110 rescued the Knights as they dipped to 122 for five in response to the Dolphins’ 306 all out, and went on to close day two on 220 for seven when rain stopped play midway through the evening session.

While the first day had belonged to the Knights as they kept the Dolphins to 262 for nine in spite of Daryn Smit’s century, the momentum shifted on the second morning as Smit (123 not out) and Imran Tahir (34) extended their partnership for the last wicket to 74.

That changed the complexion of the Dolphins’ total and represented a serious recovery from 136 for six, but after Reeza Hendricks fell cheaply to Mathew Pillans early on, the Knights responded well.

Second shared a 75-run stand with Michael Erlank for the second wicket to carry them to 87 for one and a sense of parity.

After lunch Maharaj removed Erlank, Luthando Mnyanda and Pite van Biljon, and Tahir bowled Tumelo Bodibe to reduce the Knights to 122 for five, before Second and Werner Coetsee counterattacked effectively in a 77-run stand that took the hosts to tea on 199 for five.

Having bowled almost unchanged through the second session, Maharaj returned after the interval and struck second ball as he had Coetsee caught and bowled for a brisk 51.

The left-arm spinner completed his ninth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket two overs later when he had Shadley van Schalkwyk caught, but rain intervened soon after and brought the day to a premature close.