Pietermaritzburg – A fine all-round display by Andrew Birch helped the Warriors move to second on the One-Day Cup table after a comfortable two-wicket win over the Dolphins at The Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
The fast bowler first took 2/26 to restrict the hosts to 222/9, before clubbing 45 off 38 deliveries to take the visitors to victory with 11 balls to spare.
Birch shared a match-winning 71-run partnership with captain Davy Jacobs (35 not out) after Ryan Bailey (45) and Colin Ingram (41) had provided some earlier stability.
The Dolphins' innings was built around starts from Imraan Khan (41) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (48) – the pair sharing a 74-run third wicket partnership – while Khaya Zondo (39) and Daryn Smit (44) were also in the mix.
The KwaZulu-Natal outfit, who won the toss and batter first, lost their first two wickets inside the first 10 overs as Birch dismissed Morne van Wyk (19) and Cameron Delport (five) with 45 on the board.
The 100 came up in the 25th over, before part-timer Luthando Mnyanda ended Khan's 83-ball stay, when an attempted pull from the opener, who was dropped on 31, was poorly executed and looped gently to Jon-Jon Smuts at short fine leg.
Ingram then accounted for Cody Chetty (four), caught and bowled, before the 150 was raised in the 38th over during a partnership of 64 between Zondo and Smit that also saw the hosts across the 200 mark with two overs to go.
Both men did fall at the death, although the Dolphins did manage to set 223.
The Warriors' response began poorly with Kyle Abbott, who claimed four for 44, sending Smuts on his way for six, caught behind by Van Wyk, midway through the third over.
Mnyanda (three) followed three overs later with the total on 23, before a 61-run stand from Ingram and Bailey resurrected proceedings.
Smit broke the partnership when he had the former caught at long-on by Chetty, while Ashwell Prince (18) was caught behind by Van Wyk off Delport on the other side of 100.
Set man Bailey was next to go, falling to a superb caught and bowled by Smit hurling himself to his right, with Christiaan Jonker (nine) and Simon Harmer (0) then following in quick succession as the scoreboard changed from 133 for four to 151 for seven.
Birch joined Jacobs with plenty of overs still remaining, and while the skipper occupied one end, it allowed his partner to bat with freedom and the Warriors eased to victory in the penultimate over to leapfrog the host into second on the competition's overall standings . – Sapa