Vaughn van Jaarsveld hit his second hundred in three days and Andile Phehlukwayo continued his good form with the ball as the Sunfoil Dolphins beat The Unlimited Titans by 26 runs at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Sunday to book a home play-off.
For the second game in a row, Van Jaarsveld supplied a match-winning innings in which he received minimal support, scoring 101 in a Dolphins total of 261 all out.
The Titans were on track to chase that down when Theunis de Bruyn and Dean Elgar put on a record stand for the third wicket, but Phehlukwayo (4 for 49) made the crucial breakthrough that led to a collapse and the visitors finished on 235 for eight.
Although the Warriors beat the Lions with a bonus point in the day’s other game, the Titans retained a healthy enough net run-rate to hold on to third place.
That means the Dolphins and the Titans will do it all again at the same venue on Tuesday in the play-off for a place in the final, which the Cobras will host at Newlands on Friday.
It was a sublime opening spell from Juan de Villiers (4 for 51) that made Van Jaarsveld’s rescue effort necessary, as the seamer picked up three wickets in his first five overs to leave the Dolphins 52 for three.
Van Jaarsveld picked up a bit of help from all-rounder Kyle Nipper, who scored 31 on his franchise debut, while Calvin Savage’s 43 also contributed before Elgar (3 for 43) grabbed a couple of late wickets to skittle the Dolphins in 49.4 overs.
Phehlukwayo’s four wickets were all big ones, starting with Jacques Rudolph early on, and finishing with David Wiese (50) in the final over.
None were more crucial than that of De Bruyn (81), though, as the right-hander tried to scoop a length delivery over short fine-leg but failed to clear the fielder.
De Bruyn’s partnership of 148 with Elgar (59) had beat the Titans’ third-wicket record of 142 by Heino Kuhn and Maartin van Jaarsveld against the Warriors in Benoni in 2012, and also equalled the Kingsmead record of 148 between Morne van Wyk and Boeta Dippenaar in 2009.
But one Titans wicket led to four for the addition of just five runs, with Phehlukwayo dismissing Albie Morkel cheaply to leave the chase in tatters.
Wiese’s four sixes meant the Titans were never completely out of it, but a good penultimate over from Daryn Dupavillon left 35 required from the final over, and Phehlukwayo had no problem defending that.