Suffocating spin bowling gave the Dolphins a 49-run win over the Cape Cobras in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final at Newlands.
The hosts were bowled out for 181 in 46 overs, chasing an innocuous total of 230, which earned the Dolphins home advantage in the final on Friday against the Warriors, who thrashed the Titans by eight wickets on Tuesday. The Dolphins owed their position principally to Sarel Erwee (93) and Morne van Wyk (62).
The Cobras must have fancied their chances at 4.6 an over, but Robbie Frylinck and Mthokozisi Shezi reduced them to 2-10 and the run-out of Kyle Verreynne changed the picture completely at 3-20.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj came into the attack in the 15th over and with Prenelan Subrayen (offbreak) and Senuran Muthusamy (another left-armer), restricted the Cobras to just 59 runs in 18 overs, taking three wickets along the way. Two of those, Zubaye (26) and Vernon Philander (16) fell in one Subrayen over, while Aviwe Mgijima (18) was snapped up by Muthusamy. Just three fours were scored in that period.
After 35 overs, the Cobra were 125-6, needing more than seven an over. Dane Piedt led a lower order-fightback, ending with 54 off 73 balls, with just three fours, but it was too little, too late.
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Earlier, it had all seemed so encouraging after the Cobras had reined in the Dolphins from 126-0 to 230 all out.
It’s a truism of cricket that once a wicket falls, others will follow if the pressure is maintained. And thus it was when George Linde broke the 126-run stand with his left-arm spin, bowling Van Wyk after an innings spanning 72 balls and including six fours and a six.
Then Piedt stepped to ram home the advantage, first assisting in the run-out of Vaughn van Jaarsveld (7), and then removing Dane Vilas (0) and Sibonelo Makhanya (8). All of a sudden, the Dolphins were 148-4 in the 30th over and had to rebuild.
Erwee battled on, with little support until he was cruelly cut down by Mthiwekhaya Nabe’s pace just seven runs short of his hundred. He had scored just eight fours among the 135 balls, which shows how hard he worked.
But it was thanks to him that the Dolphins limped to 230. As it turned out, that was more than enough.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix