Alviro Petersen scored his second successive Momentum One-Day Cup hundred, but it wasn’t enough to secure a second Lions victory as they went down to the Dolphins by four wickets at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
Petersen batted through the Lions innings after they had won the toss and chosen to bat, scoring 108 not out from 117 deliveries out of a total of 221-6.
The visitors’ lacklustre score was a result of the failure of the rest of the top six, with Ryan McLaren grabbing two key top-order wickets, and the Dolphins did not waste the opportunity to pick up the points as Cody Chetty’s unbeaten 86 carried them home with more than five overs to spare.
McLaren backed up a tight opening spell from Robbie Frylinck and Craig Alexander with the wickets of Stephen Cook and Rassie van der Dussen, and when Neil McKenzie fell to Keshav Maharaj in the 16th over, the Lions were battling on 46-3.
With Temba Bavuma and Thami Tsolekile departing six overs later, the Lions were trapped in a perpetual rebuilding cycle.
However, the experienced Petersen dug in, and received support from Dwaine Pretorius (31) in an 83-run stand for the sixth wicket that kept the Lions in the game.
McLaren returned to snuff that revival out and finish with figures of 3-48, but Hardus Viljoen (20) kept Petersen company through to the end of the innings, with the former Proteas opener hitting a couple of huge sixes to boost the Lions total.
Nevertheless it was never likely to be enough, and Cameron Delport and Vaughn van Jaarsveld, opening the innings as regular skipper Morne van Wyk sat out with a wrist injury, took the pressure right off the home side by racing to 52 without loss after seven overs.
Eddie Leie broke the opening stand soon after when he had Delport (28) caught at midwicket, but Van Jaarsveld reached 50 before he edged Pretorius through to the keeper.
Any suggestion that the Dolphins could wobble were eased by Chetty’s calm demeanour, as he added 53 with Daryn Smit, and then stood firm as Lonwabo Tsotsobe sparked a mini-collapse in which the hosts lost three wickets for 22 runs.
Fortunately the run-rate was never an issue, and Chetty found a reliable partner in Sibonelo Makhanya, who scored a handy 26 that took the home side to the brink of victory before Chetty sealed the deal.