Proteas T20 all-rounder Robbie Frylinck could not match his hat-trick heroics with the ball when it was his turn with the bat as the Dolphins fell to an agonising one-run loss to the Warriors in a thrilling RamSlam T20 Challenge encounter at St George’s Park on Sunday.
Frylinck had earlier in the day claimed only the third hat trick in the history of domestic franchise T20 cricket.
He followed in the footsteps of Titans seamer Ethy Mbhalati and Cobras swing bowler Charl Langeveldt when he removed Christiaan Jonker, Sisanda Magala and Andrew Birch in the penultimate over of the Warriors innings.
But with the Dolphins requiring 17 runs off the final six balls of the match from Birch, Frylinck only managed a six and two more singles, leaving his fellow Protea Keshav Maharaj to get eight off the final ball.
Maharaj duly clubbed the last delivery for another maximum, but it was all too late for the KwaZulu-Natal side.
“It (the hat trick) is obviously a nice achievement, but with the result going the way it did, it doesn’t feel as sweet. Credit though to the Warriors bowlers at the back-end. They hit their marks and didn’t give anything away. I don’t think we batted well enough, and it showed,” Frylinck said.
The Warriors posted 153/8 in their 20 overs, and the Dolphins finished on 152/7.
The victory is certainly boost for the home side as they gained four valuable points to keep them in the hunt for a semi-final place.
A defeat would have virtually consigned the Eastern Cape team to the scrapheap, but now despite remaining in last place, they are just four points behind the second-placed Cape Cobras.
They certainly have Jonker to thank for propelling the Warriors to a total that was ultimately defendable.
Jonker fashioned a fightback after the loss of three early wickets with a 36-ball 59 (3x4, 5x6) before becoming the first of Frylinck’s hat-trick victims.
Equally, the Warriors bowlers were spot on from the outset, especially the seamers, with Birch (2/28) and Basheer Walters (1/27) setting the tone upfront.
It was only after veteran Morné van Wyk (57 off 44 balls) and Sibonelo Makhanya (33) started the recovery process with a 40-run partnership for the fifth wicket did the Dolphins look like getting close.
They were edged on further by Frylinck (25 not out off 19 balls), but ultimately it was not the fairytale ending the burly all-rounder was searching for.
“I’ll take this win any day. We needed to win three from three and this is the first one, so very happy that we got over the line,” Warriors captain JJ Smuts exclaimed.
“The way Jonki was going, I thought 180 was on the cards, but they still bowled pretty well. He just played an exceptional knock, and to play that freely in that situation was brilliant.
“I thought we played really nicely, and then with the ball it was unbelievable start.
“But the way this competition has gone, no team has been knocked out, so we knew they were going to come back. But we bowled really beautifully at the death, so very proud of the guys.”