The Dolphins ended day one in a commanding position on 253-5 against the Titans, thanks to three half-centuries at the top of the order.
With the Dolphins second on the standings, they will need to beat the Titans, who are hot on their heels in third, to gain some ground on the Knights.
The Dolphins got off to their desired start at City Oval, Pietermaritzburg, by winning the toss and electing to bat first. Divan van Wyk (76) and Senuran Muthusamy (67) put on a 123-run partnership which got their innings off and running but their solid start was broken by Aiden Markram who dismissed Van Wyk on the last ball before lunch, with Muthusamy on 43 before the break.
The 22-year-old went on to make his half-century and started to build a steady partnership with Vaughn van Jaarsveld, but Muthusamy failed to hang around, as Shaun von Berg broke the partnership two runs short of 50. David Wiese (2-49) continued to slow down the momentum, picking up the wickets of Sibonelo Makhanya (16) and Daryn Smit (6) in the 65th and 66th over respectively.
Van Jaarsveld (58 not out) got stuck in, scoring his fourth half-century of this year’s campaign before bad light stopped play. With Van Jaarsveld on form and Keshav Maharaj on 11 not out, the Dolphins will start day two on 253-5 (72.3)
It was low totals all-around in the remaining two games. The Lions posted 107-3 against the Warriors thanks to 50 from Proteas opener Stephen Cook. Anrich Nortje put in a great bowling display picking up 3-35. The 23-year-old bowled Reeza Hendricks (7) in the 10th, Dominic Hendricks (15) in the 19th and got an edge from Cook into the gloves of Gihahn Cloete, one ball after Cook reached his half-century. Rain stopped play with the Lions on 107-3 (30.3) with Temba Bavuma (25) and Rassie van der Dussen (5) looking to extend their side’s lead on day two.
The Cobras were back to their old ways after being bowled out for 154. This was largely due to some outstanding bowling from recent Proteas recruit, Duanne Olivier, and medium pacer Shadley van Schalkwyk. The pair took 4-43 and 4-40 respectively with Marchant de Lange and Tshepo Ntuli picking up one apiece. All the Cobras’ batsmen struggled, with their top score coming from Justin Ontong (38).
The Knights faced a similar fate to their opponents. The Central franchise did, however, get their reply off solidly as they reached 31-0 thanks to Luthando Mnyanda (23) and Michael Erlank (32). They were undone by spin. Debutant Kyle Simmonds took 2-42 with his left-arm spin and Jason Smith took 2-17 to leave the Knights on 137-6 and trailing by 17 at stumps with only bowlers left to come.
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