Durban – Dolphins coach Lance Klusener was stunned by the match-winning innings David Miller produced in the domestic T20 Challenge semi-final against the Titans at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.
“In big games you need your big players to stand up and be counted and David showed that tonight,” Klusener, who was renowned for his big-hitting in his day, said afterwards.
“It was just an unbelievable innings and I haven't seen anything like it before. The hardest game of the whole competition is probably the semi-final and to get through is fantastic.”
Miller clubbed a magnificent, unbeaten 93 from 37 deliveries to set up a 31-run victory which put the hosts into Sunday's final against the Cape Cobras at Newlands.
The result also sees the Dolphins automatically entered into the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 tournament played against the winners and runners-up of the domestic competitions in India, Australia, South Africa and the West Indies plus two qualifying teams.
In a scarcely believable innings, Miller plundered a remarkable nine sixes, three of them leading to the ball being lost, while he also smashed Roelof van der Merwe's 18th over for 34.
After the Dolphins had limped to 95/4, after 14 overs, Miller shared in a 120-run fifth-wicket partnership off 44 balls with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (22) to help the hosts post 200/4.
“Personally it's one of my best knocks in T20 cricket and coming in the semi-final, everything clicking on this stage, is quite emotional,” Miller said.
“Hopefully there's still more to come in the final. But it really is nice to put in that match-winning performance for the team.
“Fortunately it was my night tonight and if it's not the next time, then I'm hoping someone else will stand up.
“It was very nice to really lift the boys in the semi-final when it mattered.”
In reply, the visitors were bowled out for 169 in 19.2 overs with Mthokozisi Shezi (4/39) and Robbie Frylinck (3/26) sharing seven of the wickets, while Heino Kuhn (76 off 39) had briefly given his side hope.
The Dolphins, the only South African franchise never to have won the competition, will now face the Cobras, who automatically secured their route to a home final by virtue of topping the regular season standings.
Miller was confident of springing a surprise in Cape Town.
“I truly believe we can win the final on Sunday. Half their team is not there because of the test matches.
“They've had that momentum through the campaign with a lot of those players, so it will be back to basics for them and we have every chance.
“I believe we'll even be the favourites because they don't have the players that took them to the final and to the top of the table. We'll enjoy tonight and then look forward to that game over the weekend.” – Sapa