A maiden career 10-wicket haul by Jon-Jon Smuts played a key role as the Warriors completed a big innings and 29-run win over the Dolphins on the final day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter in Durban on Sunday.
The Proteas limited-overs all-rounder, who claimed six for 50 in the first innings, followed that up with four for 117 in the follow-on innings to help the visitors bowl out the hosts for 295 in their second innings around midway through day four.
There were also four wickets from Jade de Klerk (4/69) completing a fine seven-wicket match haul by the young spinner with the bottom-of-the-table Dolphins slipping from 208 for three overnight to their eventual total – a fall of seven wickets for 87.
It competed another disappointing display by the KwaZulu-Natal franchise, who end the year having lost three out of five matches in 2019/20.
For the Warriors, victory propelled them from fourth to second on the log with 80.28 points, just under 10 behind leaders and defending champions Imperial Lions.
And they were full value for their win too at the Kingsmead, dominating almost entirely from start to finish.
Having amassed 513 in the first innings and then shot out the Dolphins for 189, the Port Elizabeth side had faced their first real test in the game late on day three when Grant Roelofsen and Sarel Erwee (77) shared a 164-run opening stand.
The former was there overnight on 101 not out, but he fell in the first session on day four to all but end hopes of salvaging something from the game.
The right-hander struck 112 (256 balls, 10 fours, 2 sixes) and was the first Smuts’ first victim of the day after De Klerk had made the initial breakthrough when he dismissed Senuran Muthusamy.
It was free-fall from there – the only other batsman to past 20 being Sibonelo Makhanya (27) – as the two spinners ran riot and sent the Dolphins tumbling in 127.1 overs for a dominant win.
Smuts’ 10 wickets in the match were his best return at franchise level and second overall in first-class cricket. De Klerk’s figures were also his best in the four-day game.