The Sunfoil Dolphins claimed a vital four wicket victory over a powerful bizhub Highveld Lions outfit in their first Momentum One Day Cup clash at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead of the 2015/16 season on Friday.
The Lions, who beat the Cape Cobras in their opening encounter, are a fancied side in this year’s competition however a strong performance with the ball and a measured chase saw the men from Durban secure a result which sees them return to the top of the table after their opening three matches.
“This was a very good result for us,” said Ryan McLaren who stood in as captain for the injured Morné van Wyk who suffered a wrist injury in the nets shortly before the season started.
“We built a lot of pressure with the ball; it was a pretty slow wicket and taking wickets up front was crucial. We then managed to keep the pressure on them and I was then really impressed with how we chased.
“We didn’t bat well for ten overs in Port Elizabeth (on Wednesday against the Warriors) and that’s what cost us the game but tonight I thought we were in control of the game in all three disciplines so that was very pleasing, especially against a strong Lions team,” he added.
Winning the toss and batting first the visitors got off to a steady start, reaching 30/0 after ten overs before a triple wicket blow in the space of sixteen deliveries halted proceedings mid-innings.
A disciplined effort with the ball by the Sunfoil Dolphins – lead by McLaren (3/48) – was however countered by an elegant knock by former Protea Alviro Petersen who built his way to an impressive 108 not out.
Having found good support from Dwaine Pretorius (31) and Hardus Viljoen (20*), Petersen guided the Lions to 221/7, a testing target on a difficult pitch.
“It wasn’t an easy target on that type of wicket and I thought the guys batted well,” said McLaren. “We had a couple of important partnerships and Cody (Chetty) really showed a lot of maturity in the way he played.”
A 67-run opening stand between Cameron Delport (28) and Vaughn can Jaarsveld (50) got the Sunfoil Dolphins’ chase off to the perfect start before workmanlike innings from Cody Chetty saw the 24 year-old make an match-winning contribution of 86 not out, surpassing his previous List A best of 74.
“I think from me personally (a performance like this) was long overdue,” said Chetty. “The team doesn’t really see themselves as youngsters anymore and so it’s about time that we start winning games for the team and I’m just happy that I could contribute in this game!”
“Cam (Delport) and Vaughn (van Jaarsveld) obviously set the tone upfront so it was a bit easier for me to take my time and get in.
“There wasn’t much pressure going into the middle overs but then we lost a few wickets so I just told myself to try take the game deep and I’m really glad it worked out for us tonight,” he added.
The Sunfoil Dolphins’ next assignment sees them travel to Centurion for Wednesday’s Momentum One Day Cup clash with The Unlimited Titans at SuperSport Park before returning to Sahara Stadium once more on Friday, 23 October for a bout with the Cape Cobras.