The Sunfoil Dolphins suffered a disappointing seven wicket loss to The Unlimited Titans on Wednesday night in their rain influenced Momentum One Day Cup clash at SuperSport Park, Centurion with the hosts clinching a bonus point in the process that reduced the visitors to third position on the log.
After winning the toss and batting first it was the part-time off-spin of Henry Davids that ripped the heart out of the Sunfoil Dolphins middle order before a 137 run third wicket partnership between Heino Kuhn and Graeme van Buuren all but saw the Titans chase down the target with 59 balls to spare.
The men from Durban started briskly with the bat as Cameron Delport smashed his way to 21 off 15 balls before he fell in the fourth over and was promptly followed by Cody Chetty in the fifth.
Daryn Smit joined the in-form Vaughn van Jaarsveld at the crease and the pair consolidated well before their 49 run partnership came to an end when Smit slapped Junior Dala straight to point.
An intense Highveld storm that bought little rain but gale force winds halted proceedings after 17.2 overs with the scoreboard reflecting 88/3.
When play resumed, and the contest shortened to 37 overs aside, Van Jaarsveld and Tshepang Dithole (21) started steadily, seeing their side to 130/2 after 25 overs before Dithole was the first to succumb to Davids (3/30) and his demise started a rot that saw the Sunfoil Dolphins lose their final 7 wickets for just 51 runs in a little over seven overs.
“We started off well and had the momentum early in our innings and then the rain came and we lost a lot of wickets in the middle phase when we would have liked to have consolidated after the start that we’d had,” said stand-in captain Ryan McLaren.
“We’re professional cricketers and so we have to adapt to whatever comes our way, if it rains then we’ve got to have that rain focus.
“We had wickets in hand, we could have set a different target (for ourselves).
While the rest of his side battled with the bat, Van Jaarsveld’s purple patch continued and his 66 off 73 balls sees him occupy second on the list of top run scorers in the competition thus far with 226 runs from his four innings at 56.50.
Craig Alexander’s venom and Keshav Maharaj’s control asked questions during the Titans innings however they were the few highlights in an otherwise disappointing bowling and fielding effort.
“You always know it’s difficult defending up here but we weren’t going to defend (successfully) with a total like that,” said McLaren. “In the field we were poor; really just a lot of poor discipline so a lot of work is needed!”
While it was a tough day at the office for the Sunfoil Dolphins they remain tied on points at the top of the log and a strong showing against the Cape Cobras at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday, 23 October will see them well in the hunt as the first half of the competition draws to a close this weekend.
Gates open at 13h00 on Friday before play gets underway at 14h00. Tickets can be purchased from www.ticketpro.co.za with fans reminded that any tickets purchased online gives the purchaser the opportunity to nominate a cricket club or school who will then receive 50% share of the value of the ticket.