Durban - The exciting Dolphins Premier League (DPL), presented by Aucor, culminated with the Hollywoodbets eThekwini Hurricanes claiming a 25 runs win over the AFFA Holdings Tugela Sharks in the final at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Eight teams started the round robin phase and going into the final round of fixtures all of the teams had a mathematical chance of making it to the semi-finals. The final Saturday of matches was rained out so the table topping Tugela Sharks took on the Solid Pak PMB Spurs in the one semi-final, and the Hurricanes took on the Aucor Durban Chiefs in the other semi-final.
Sunday's final was a tight affair with the Sharks bowling attack under the watchful eyes of coach and ex-Proteas bowler, Yusuf Abdullah, restricting the Hurricanes to 134. The main run scorers for the Hurricanes came from the tournament's stand-out player Blayde Capell (33 runs) and a brisk 38 off 20 balls from man of the match Grant Roelofsen. The Sharks' Gareth Rall was the pick of the bowlers with 3/22 in his four overs which included the vital wicket of Roelofsen.
In reply Hollywoodbets Dolphins batsman Cody Chetty put up a lonely fight and when he got out eventually for a solid 47 his team ended on 108/7 in their 18 overs. Hurricanes captain Kyle Buckthorp picked up 2/25 in three overs while opening bowler Keith Dudgeon bagged 2/30 in his four overs.
Impressively, the Hurricanes ended with the batsman of the tournament and also with three bowlers who took more than 10 wickets. Kyle Buckthorp, Keith Dudgeon and Neil Jordaan took 11, 11 and 10 wickets respectively.
The Rookie of the Tournament was awarded to a Glenwood High School scholar who represented the Solid Pak PMB Spurs, Thamsanqa Khumalo, who scored 133 runs at an average of 44 and a top score of 53.
Bowler of the Tournament went to AFFA Holdings Tugela Sharks' Abdul Razak, who took 12 wickets at an economy rate of merely five runs an over.
Without a doubt the stand-out player of the tournament and recipient of both Batsman of the Tournament and MVP of the Tournament was Blayde Capell. Capell's 369 runs was 119 runs ahead of the second highest run scorer Cody Chetty and he averaged 73 with four half centuries in his seven innings.
CEO of KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Heinrich Strydom believes that the first edition of the competition exceeded his expectations.
"It was a great competition with some nail-biting games and impressive individual performances," Strydom mentioned. "The potential of this KZN cricket pipeline is mind blowing and with the support of these incredible sponsors the future looks very promising. The team owners were incredible with their passion and commitment and Aucor was immense as a tournament naming rights sponsor."
The tournament was unique in that all the teams had a mix of contracted Dolphins, professional Coastal and Inland players, academy, club and school cricketers from all over the KZN province reaching as far as Newcastle and Empangeni, giving the cricketers the perfect platform to showcase their talents.
"The tournament achieved all the initial goals that we set out as a team," Strydom added. "I have always been very passionate about club cricket and this tournament gave our club cricketers wonderful opportunities to display their skills.
"Young players shared a change room with their cricketing heroes, the Coastal and Inland teams had the perfect build up towards Africa Cup and it also presented some of our best coaches, umpires and scorers the opportunity to be a part of this high level competition.”
A DPL Dream Team was selected based on tournament performances:
Blayde Capell (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes), Cody Chetty (AFFA Holdings Tugela Sharks), Bruce Kerr (Elite Academy Umgeni Rhinos), Vaughn van Jaarsveld (Toddler Park Drakensburg Thunder), Kyle Nipper (Aucor Durban Chiefs), Khalipa Cele (Elite Academy Umgeni Rhinos), Kushen Kishun (Aucor Durban Chiefs), Sohail Mahmoud (AFFA Holdings Tugela Sharks), Tyron Koen (Solid Pak Pmb Spurs), Kerwin Mungroo (Toddler Park Drakensburg Thunder), Abdul Razak (AFFA Holdings Tugela Sharks), Kyle Buckthorp (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes), Keith Dudgeon (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes), Neill Jordan (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes), Thamsanqa Khumalo (Solid Pak Pmb Spurs)
Coaches - James Pentz (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes), Kenneth Mafunga (Hollywoodbets Ethekwini Hurricanes)