A second hundred this week from former England international Kevin Pietersen, saw the Sunfoil Dolphins home comfortably by nine wickets against the VKB Knights in Kimberley on Friday evening and kept the Durban-based franchise unbeaten and at the summit of the RAM Slam T20 Challenge log.
Having won the toss and elected to field first the Dolphins managed to keep the Knights to a respectable total following a belligerent knock from the talented Theunis de Bruyn, who scored 100 off just 55 deliveries.
The bowling unit of the Dolphins did not panic as De Bruyn dispatched the ball to all parts of the Diamond Oval and kept the score from ballooning out to something more ominous and the mark stood at 168 following their twenty overs in the field.
Sunfoil Dolphins coach Lance Klusener was happy that the team could put together a solid, all-round display on what was a good wicket to bat on following a few nervy periods with the ball in hand.
“There were some tough overs in there that guys had to bowl but I think that we finished really well with the ball,” mentioned Klusener after the match. “Kyle Abbott bowled the last over exceptionally well and restricted them to a score that was par.”
“[With the bat] we started off really well with the way that Cameron (Delport) hit the ball and if our team is getting off to a start like that then it is always tough for the opposition to come back.”
Following Pietersen’s heroics to get the Dolphins to a defendable score against the bizhub Highveld Lions just two days prior his efforts on Friday were, once again, praised by Klusener.
“He is in the form of his life!
“Back-to-back T20 hundreds is an amazing feat and when a player is hitting the ball that sweetly it is difficult for any opposition to play against it.
“Well done to Morné van Wyk as well. He really struggled up front for a while but ended up playing extremely well and carrying his bat through the innings,” added the coach.
The master class from Pietersen, which put a dampener on young De Bruyn’s knock, began after he came to the crease following a swashbuckling 34 off 14 balls from hard-hitting left-hander Cameron Delport and the over 100-test veteran began by chipping away at the deficit after captain Morné van Wyk found the going a little difficult.
The pair managed to gain some valuable momentum towards the end of the powerplay which seemed to snowball as Pietersen found the middle of the willow with consummate ease as he powered his way to a half century off a measly 27 deliveries.
This no-compromise batting allowed Van Wyk to rotate the strike and pick off boundaries when he could and the partnership blossomed as the required run-rate deteriorated to under a run-a-ball heading into the final ten overs.
Pietersen seemed to up the ante towards the latter part of the run chase and it took the former Maritzburg College pupil 19 deliveries to move from 51 to his second consecutive hundred in the RAM Slam T20 Challenge and victory with 20 balls to spare.
The Sunfoil Dolphins return home to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Sunday where they take on the Warriors. The match starts at 14:30 and tickets can be purchased at ticketpro.co.za or at the Stadium ticket office.
Fans are reminded that they can stand a chance of winning a share of R1million should they catch a ‘six’ one-handed and cleanly (Ts & Cs apply).