Cape Town — Dolphins chief executive Heinrich Strydom has hailed his team’s Cricket SA 4-Day Division 1 championship series success as “complete team effort”.
The Dolphins claimed the title on Tuesday after posting 329 in their first innings before dismissing the Lions for 259 on the third day at the JB Marks in Potchefstroom. The Dolphins managed 222 in their second innings setting the Lions 293 to win.
Imran Khan’s side had led the table heading into the last leg of round-robin fixtures on 109.46 points with the Titans in second place on 92.82. The Dolphins have moved to an unassailable 118 points and cannot be overtaken regardless of the results on the final day of the season.
It is a remarkable turnaround for the Dolphins, who were last on the table after the first leg of the competition prior to the Betway SA20. They have since won four straight matches since the first-class competition resumed in February.
“We only had 18 points after two games with the first game rained out and the second was when the Warriors really batted big against us, so we thought that it may be one of those seasons again,” Strydom told IOL Sport.
The momentum shift came against Western Province, who were the league leaders at that stage, at Kingsmead though. Province had dismissed the Dolphins for just 129 in the first innings and had set the home side a stiff fourth innings target of 273.
But after 29 wickets had fallen in the first two days, the young Dolphins pair of Bryce Parsons (134 not out) and Ruan de Swardt (89 not out) kept the fearsome WP attack at bay to compile a match-winning unbroken partnership of 210 runs for the third wicket as the home side romped home by eight wickets.
“The turning point was definitely against WP. We were in deep trouble and two fringe players played unbelievable knocks that took us home. That really changed the course of our entire season,” Strydom said.
“From thereon everyone played their part. It was a complete team effort. Sarel Erwee came back from the national team with a point to prove and he got a 100 in the next game, and of course Keshav (Maharaj) bowled really well, and Jason Smith also played well, so everyone put up their hands at some point.”
The Dolphins won the last Cricket SA Division 1 four-day championship under the franchise banner two seasons ago and have now won another first-class title two seasons into the new provincial era.