An all-round display by captain Keshav Maharaj helped the log-leading Dolphins stretch their lead at the top of the One-Day Cup table with a convincing 26-run win over the Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The Proteas spinner first hit a maiden career half-century (50 not out off 77 balls, 3 fours) to rescue his side from big trouble with the bat, before claiming 4-24 in 10 overs to seal a fourth win in five for his side.
The Cobras were poor in what was long-time servant Rory Kleinveldt’s final match for the franchise at Newlands. The veteran all-rounder, who is retiring at the end of the season, at least did himself justice with a stellar spell of 1-20 in 10 overs as the visitors were restricted to 183-8.
However, the hosts could not get going in the reply as Maharaj ripped through the top order, before Daryn Dupavillon (3-39) mesmerised the tail to send the home side tumbling for 157 in 42.3 overs.
That sealed a good win for Imraan Khan’s charges as they moved five points clear at the summit with 18 points from five games. The Cobras, on the other hand, stayed second bottom – 10 points adrift of the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.
In what was a low-scoring affair, the Dolphins won the toss and batted, but struggled on a slow and turning pitch.
Kleinveldt was superb up front and received good support from fellow seamers Akhona Mnyaka (1-43) and Thando Ntini (1-40), with George Linde finishing as the pick of the bowlers with 2-24.
Their bowling had reduced their opponents to 101-7 after only Grant Roelofsen (40) managed to get among the runs from the top order.
But Maharaj and Prenelan Subrayen (28), who also rescued the away side with the bat in their opening game, then added 66 together to help lift the target to a competitive 184.
It was the former’s highest score in List A cricket and maiden half-century.
The Cobras began decently thanks to Janneman Malan (23) and Pieter Malan (14) putting on 35 for the first wicket.
But the introduction of Man-of-the-Match Maharaj spelt trouble as he rocked the top order with his four wickets.
That left the hosts on 60-5, before Kyle Verreynne (25) and Aviwe Mgijima appeared to put them back on track for victory with a 48-run seventh-wicket stand.
But Dupavillon left them in a fix with a double strike as they fell to 126-9.
Mgijima, who hit a fighting 69 not out off 86 balls (5 fours, 1 six), then put together a franchise record 10th-wicket partnership with Mnyaka (5) that challenged the Dolphins.
Their stand of 31 beat the previous best mark of 24 by Zakhele Qwabe and Dane Paterson against the VKB Knights at the same venue in 2016-17, but just as hope began to rise, Dupavillon cleaned up Mnyaka to seal victory.
Photo: Gallo Images