The Hollywoodbets Dolphins Under 19 players made history when they became the first Dolphins team to clinch the CSA Franchise Cubs Week title with four wins from five games recently.
The tournament that started on 3 January in Stellenbosch saw the Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cubs enjoy resounding victories throughout the week over four of the other five domestic franchises, slipping up only to the Warriors on the final day of the tournament.
The KwaZulu-Natal outfit was led by Matthew Montgomery and was dominant with both bat and ball in their first four games. There were a number of batsmen that contributed and the bowlers backed this up with disciplined bowling throughout.
A courageous knock of 113 from Thamsanqa Khumalo against the Cape Cobras Cubs on Sunday was one of the stand-out performances for the KZN side during the week and went a long way in seeing them go unbeaten in their first four games.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cubs started positively in their opener against the Multiply Titans Cubs. Chasing an under par 144, all-rounder Matthew Montgomery and Thamsanqa Khumalo combined for a 65 run partnership scoring 38* and 44 respectively to secure a seven-run victory over the Pretoria outfit.
Fast Bowler Lifa Ntanzi was a star with the ball in hand as he finished with figures of three for 10 in 6.1 overs.
Khumalo and Montgomery continued their dominance with the bat with a 109 run partnership against the Bizhub Highveld Lions Cubs. This time the duo notched up their half centuries, scoring 53 and 76 respectively.
The heroics of Khumalo and Montgomery propelled the Dolphins to a total of 230 for the loss of seven wickets.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins bowlers didn’t want to be outdone by the batsmen and made light work of the Lions batting line-up, bowling them out for 170 runs with three overs to spare.
The Dolphins Cubs’ confidence was on a high when they met up with VKB Knights Cubs on the third day of the competition. Montgomery, who was already having a stellar week fell two runs short of a well-deserved 100 as he was undone by a delivery from Brian Kershaw on 98.
Valiant contributions from Andile Mogakane and Nikhil Prem of 41 and 42 respectively saw the Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cubs post 229 in their allocated 50 overs.
In reply, the VKB Knights Cubs had no answer for Lifa Ntanzi, as the fast bowler ran through the batting line-up and picked up his first five-wicket haul of the CSA Cubs Week, ending the day with brilliant figures of five for 16 in just six overs.
The Knights were eventually bundled out for 132 in 34.3 overs.
In their final game the Dolphins were chasing 249 to win the match against the Warriors however they could only manage 172 all out in their chase.
Captain Montgomery continued his fine form and scored 44 while Caleb Pillay contributed 35.
“We made it very clear to everyone involved that we would put the team first,” coach Mduduzi Mbatha said on their return from the Western Cape.
“This got everyone to buy into looking to contribute, both on and off the field, for the team to do well.
“The guys sitting out during the matches were brilliant at putting the team first and created a bond amongst the guys to fight as one during the tournament.”
KZN Cricket CEO Heinrich Strydom is encouraged by the way the side conducted themselves as well as the positive results on the field.
“As a union it is incredibly exciting to see the next generation of Dolphins players doing so well at a national level,” he said.
“The players were led well by both their coaches Mduduzi Mbatha and Fabian Lazarus and the captain Matthew Montgomery and the ethos they adopted shone through in their results.
“I have to pay special tribute to all the role players who got these boys to this stage. It is an endless amount of sacrifices and commitment by parents, families, coaches, teachers, sponsors, etc. and they should all be very proud of this achievement.”
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