A career-best score from Yaseen Vallie and three wickets in five balls from Jon-Jon Smuts maintained the Warriors’ unbeaten start to the Momentum One-Day Cup as they beat the Dolphins by 42 runs at St George’s Park on Wednesday.
Vallie showed skill and adaptability in scoring 96 from just 78 balls to give the Warriors an imposing total after they had won the toss and elected to bat on a turning pitch, eclipsing his previous best List A score in the process.
The Dolphins chase got off to the worst possible start when they lost Morne van Wyk after just three deliveries, but they were back in the game at 118-3 when Smuts snuffed out the middle order in his second over, dismissing Cody Chetty, Sibonelo Makhanya and Ryan McLaren.
Robbie Frylinck’s spirited 56 gave the Dolphins a flicker of hope but they were eventually bowled out for 230 in the 41st over, leaving them short of an adjusted target of 273 in 48 overs and giving the Warriors a handy head-start in the competition ahead of a busy weekend of fixtures.
Although Smuts followed up his match-winning century against the Titans with a duck, the home side soon had the upper hand thanks to an 89-run stand for the second wicket between Gihahn Cloete and Colin Ingram, who recovered from an illness to score 53.
Only an unfortunate run-out at the non-striker’s end could break the stand, with Cloete departing for 49, and the Warriors were able to maintain their momentum in any case as man of the match Vallie quickly found his feet.
He was content to manoeuvre the ball to begin with and only reached his half-century at the end of the 41st over, but then took the bowling apart to help the Warriors add 86 runs in the last nine overs.
Vallie missed out on a maiden List A hundred in the final over when he edged McLaren through to the keeper, but the damage was already done.
A swift second-wicket partnership between Cameron Delport and Vaughn van Jaarsveld did give the Dolphins a promising start, but once Andrew Birch’s run-out had ended it and Smuts had struck so brutally, it was going to take something special for the Dolphins to challenge.
Frylinck threatened to produce it as he struck three clean sixes in an entertaining knock, but Birch returned to close the deal for the Warriors by knocking out Frylinck’s off stump.