Cape Town - History was made at Newlands as the Dolphins picked up their first ever T20 title with a two-run victory over the Cape Cobras on Sunday.
The game was alive until the final ball. With the Cobras needing a six to earn a tie and push the game to a super over, Justin Kemp hoicked a Robbie Frylinck delivery to midwicket, but it fell just a few feet short before going for four.
In reply to the Dolphins’ 146/8, the Cobras had come agonisingly close on 144/7.
Chasing 147 for victory, the Cape side had a less than ideal start. By the sixth over they had slumped to 20/4, and valuable impetus had been lost.
Big-hitter Richard Levi cut one straight to point to start the slide in the second over, and seamer Mthokozisi Shezi grabbed his second wicket in the sixth over, with Cobras skipper Justin Ontong (0) guiding one to slip.
Local fans hoping for a spirited response from the Cobras had also seen veteran Jacques Kallis (5), in his first game of the campaign for the Cobras, and Dane Vilas (1), go cheaply.
A 14 500 crowd then saw a superb fightback from surprise selection Sybrand Engelbrecht and Stiaan van Zyl. The pair combined well for the game’s biggest partnership of 91 off 10.4 overs to put the home side in with a chance at the death.
In an innings that included two consecutive sixes, Engelbrecht scored his first T20 fifty for the Cobras. An attempt at a quick single in the 17th over, though, ended in the run-out of Van Zyl for 46 (off 41 balls, three fours).
Engelbrecht (56 off 39 balls, four fours and two sixes) and Dane Piedt (5) lost their wickets soon afterwards, leaving Kemp (21 not out off 12 balls) and Aviwe Mgijima to steer the Cobras to within a whisker of a third T20 title.
Batting first, the Dolphins lost their first wicket in the third over with Cameron Delport becoming Beuran Hendricks’ 28th scalp of the season.
Piedt, Ontong and Engelbrecht all struck in a steady batting effort to leave the Dolphins at 95/4 in the 14th over.
Engelbrecht’s wicket – his first T20 wicket for the Cobras – turned out to be the biggest wicket of the innings with the 25-year-old off-spinner denying Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk his 17th T20 fifty.
Three runs short of the landmark, Van Wyk went for a big hit only to be caught by Kallis at long-on after facing 45 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes.
Kallis (4/26) grabbed two wickets each in the 18th and 20th overs. Khaya Zondo (16 off 13) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (first ball duck) went first.
Then in the final over David Miller (25 off 19 balls) fell when Kemp showed excellent footwork on the deep extra-cover boundary to hold a steepler. Two balls later Frylinck’s heave found Aviwe Mgijima at midwicket.