A captain’s innings from Morne van Wyk rescued the Sunfoil Dolphins from the brink of disaster and carried them to a crucial victory over The Unlimited Titans that made them the main challengers to the bizhub Highveld Lions for the final two rounds of the Sunfoil Series.
Chasing a seemingly straightforward 177 to win on the final day at SuperSport Park, the Dolphins slumped to 58 for six inside 20 overs before Van Wyk and Calvin Savage turned the game around.
Van Wyk finished unbeaten on 59 as the Dolphins won by three wickets to take 18.72 points from the game, keeping them in touch with the league leaders.
A 10-wicket victory over the Knights left the Lions 17.58 points clear at the top of the table, but the Dolphins will have the opportunity to cut that lead down next week when they host the Lions at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
Having challenged the Lions for most of the competition, the Titans have now been left some distance behind in third after back-to-back defeats – but that did not always look to be the case on Sunday.
Two wickets in Marchant de Lange’s first spell were backed up by a superb burst from Rowan Richards (3 for 35), who grabbed three wickets in seven balls to make the Titans favourites for the win.
However, Van Wyk and Savage had combined well in the first innings, and they managed to bed down in the second and slowly rebuild the innings either side of lunch.
Recognising that all his captain needed was a reliable partner, Savage settled for holding up an end, scoring just 15 in his first 77 deliveries before opening up once the Dolphins reached three figures.
His subsequent counter-attack saw him overtake Van Wyk and go to fifty off 119 balls – a landmark that Van Wyk soon joined him on when he drove De Lange (3 for 66) over long-off for six.
Savage fell for 53 when just three runs were required for victory, which allowed Keshav Maharaj the satisfaction of hitting the winning boundary.