The Sunfoil Dolphins suffered a six wicket defeat to the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday 2 November in the 2014/15 RAM SLAM T20 Challenge’s opening tripleheader after a game where the momentum swayed back and forth throughout.
Having won last year’s competition and learnt many lessons during their Oppo Champions League T20 debut a few weeks ago, the Dolphins had hoped for a positive start to their campaign however captain Morné van Wyk was unphased by the loss.
“We’ve played seven games back here (in South Africa) now (between the Momentum One Day Cup and the RAM SLAM T20) and this is only the second one we’ve lost so as a team we’re still going strong,” said van Wyk.
“You do lose matches in this competition, that’s the nature of the game.
“With the intensity of the competition though, whatever happens you will get the opportunity to bounce back very soon afterwards,” he added ahead of Wednesday’s contest at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead against the Chevrolet Warriors.
Winning the toss and batting first, the Dolphins stuttered up front with the early loss of opening batsmen Cameron Delport and van Wyk before a surge from Cody Chetty and Vaughn van Jaarsveld saw the pair compile a 71-run partnership in just 7.3 overs.
A four wicket haul by West Indian sensation Chris Gayle ripped the heart out of the Dolphins’ middle order which, together with yet another power outage during a Dolphins/Lions clash, stunted the Durban men’s progress once more.
“I think we did really well after losing two quick wickets and then putting together a fantastic partnership that got us to the eleventh over but unfortunately we didn’t use that launching pad as well as we would have liked to.
“It was a fantastic knock that Cody (Chetty) played. We would have liked to have him score another 20 runs or so; the difference between a 60 and an 80 in that situation is immense in terms of stretching out the innings but the launching pad was there and just as it looked like we launching, off went the lights again!”
A 25 minute break due to the outage curbed the impact of Prenelan Subrayen’s (26 off 13 balls) charge at the tail of the innings as the Dolphins eventually made their way to 172/9.
“It’s probably the fourth of fifth time (the lights have gone off in a Dolphins/Lions game) and always seems to happen just as we’re getting the momentum,” explained a frustrated van Wyk.
“The break just stopped our momentum at a crucial time; we were sitting with two and a half overs to go with a batter who was going at a strike rate of 200.00 and then we went off.
“We saw with the next seven or eight balls that we just weren’t on it (after the break) as it’s very tough to kick off in top gearand there isn’t time to go from first gear to second to third!”
With the ball, the Dolphins bowlers showed good control to rein Gayle in up front however the T20 ace enjoyed a strong second half of his innings which saw the scales tip in the Lions’ favour once more.
Gayle’s demise to a full Subrayen delivery sparked a flicker of hope for the Dolphins however 50-ball 58 from Jean Symes and 23 from 12 deliveries by Thami Tsolekile ultimately saw the hosts across the line with seven balls to spare.
The Dolphins now turn their attention towards their return to their Durban headquarters on Wednesday where play is scheduled to get underway at 18h00.Fans can purchase their tickets via www.ticketpros.co.za or at the gate.