The Sunfoil Dolphins broke their disappointing run of form with a convincing 8 wicket win over a powerful Cape Cobras side in their final round robin match of the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday to book themselves a spot in Wednesday, 9 December’s qualifier.
With matches still to be played by other franchises on Sunday, the qualifier’s venue and the Dolphins’ opposition remain unsure.
What is certain though is the men from Durban will be both pleased and relieved to have returned to their winning of the early part of the tournament as well as to have kept their title hopes alive.
“There is nothing wrong with a bit of pressure in this line of work, sometimes it gets the best out of players,” said Sunfoil Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk. “There is pressure on all the teams in these situations and I guess it comes down to who can cope with it the best.”
“A lot of the games that we came up short in earlier in the competition was because of poor decision making most of the time but when we get the decision making right then our skills seem to fall into place as well and tonight – especially with the bat – we made some smart, shrewd decisions out there!” he added.
Winning the toss and batting first, the visiting Cape Cobras lost early wickets to the Dolphins opening bowlers, Rabian Engelbrecht and Ayavuya Myoli, before spinner and RAM Deliverer of the Day, Keshav Maharaj’s spell of two for 21 in four over pegged them back even further.
A breezy finish from the Cobras lower order did however see the post a challenging 142/7 in their 20 overs, Justin Ontong (34 off 46), Robin Peterson (35 off 22) and Rory Kleinveldt (17 off 8) the contributors in chief.
Cameron Delport, promoted back to the top of the order after some time on the sidelines, started in typical fashion as he saw his side to 43 for no loss after four overs before a slowing of the run rate and his ultimate demise for 39 off 36 balls (5 x 4, 1 x 6).
David Miller and Morné van Wyk looked to continue steadily before Miller’s departure brought Jonathan Vandiar to the crease with the Dolphins still needing 49 runs off 31 balls.
With the guiding hand of Van Wyk – who himself worked his way to a well-played 60 off 52 balls – Vandiar then unleashed in the seventeenth over as he carved a six and three boundaries from Kleinveldt’s bowling to reduce the chase to a run a ball.
A six and two more fours off Vandiar’s bat in the nineteenth over saw the Dolphins across the line with eight balls to spare and into the qualifier as the hard-hitting left hander finished on 34 off 12 to claim the RAM Slammer of the Day award.
“I am really happy (about my performance) but it’s more about the team!” said Vandiar. “I just really wanted to contribute!”
“It has been a long time since I contributed! When I came here in 2012 it was to win matches and I haven’t done that so I’m just happy to contribute!
“I’ve been hitting a lot of balls, working really hard to get back and also just to enjoy myself again so I’m really happy to have contributed!” he added.
The Sunfoil Dolphins next fixture will be the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge qualifier on Wednesday, 9 December however their opposition and the venue for the clash will only be decided on Sunday.