Morne van Wyk smashed 107 before Robbie Frylinck hit successive sixes off the final two balls, to claim a three-wicket win over the Cobras.
Boland Park provided a flat wicket in a battle between second and third, as the Cobras’ fading stars crumbled at the death.
A middle-order rescue mission, led by skipper JP Duminy, saved the hosts after a shaky start, as they lost three wickets for 105 runs.
Richard Levi was the first to fall on a two-ball duck before Pieter Malan (62) and Aviwe Mgijima (40) struck a 103-run partnership. Both batsmen fell victim to spin in quick succession, Malan to Prenelan Subrayen and Mgijima to Imran Tahir.
Duminy led handy partnerships with Jason Smith and Wayne Parnell, but his partners struggled to match their captain’s urgency, losing their wickets at vital periods.
Smith hit 16 off 24 to help the Cobras to 155 and Parnell 32 off 31 to help his side to 231, but it was Duminy’s half-century which bound his side’s innings.
Duminy scored 86 off 66 deliveries (6×4, 2×6), to push his side to 271, before Frylinck (3-44) dismissed him for his third. A cameo 18-ball 32 from Kyle Verreynne pushed the Cobras to 289-6.
The Dolphins’ chase was highlighted by the experienced Van Wyk, who struck his 24th century in 137 balls. He drove his side’s composed start as he strung together 161 with Sarel Erwee (80) and 62 with Senuran Muthusamy (35) before an unseen collapse followed.
The Dolphins lost five wickets for 55 runs, as the game swung in the Cobras’ favour. Wayne Parnell took 2-51 dismissing Muthusamy and Khaya Zondo (0) as the nerves set in, the Dolphins stunned at 224-3.
Four wickets fell thereafter, as the visitors fell into dangerous territory needing 13 runs from the last over. Ferisco Adams clamped down the Dolphins with a dot ball, conceding two singles and dismissing Calvin Savage, as the Durban-based franchise stared down the barrel of defeat.
A calm-and-collected Frylinck played the unsung hero. With his side needing 11 off the last two deliveries, the 33-year-old smashed two sixes to claim a nail-biting finish for his side.
The victory pushed the Dolphins within a point of the Cobras (14 points) in second with a game in hand.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix