Cape Town — The Dolphins have secured the final place in the CSA T20 Challenge playoffs with a crushing 65-run victory over Western Province at St George's Park.
In a must-win game for the Dolphins it was their senior players that came to the fore. After a disastrous start that saw the Dolphins slip to 13/3 after just 14 balls of the innings, the experienced Khaya Zondo led the recovery with an undefeated 59 off 51 balls.
Zondo received solid support from youngsters Ruan de Swardt (22) and Bryce Parsons (28) initially, but the real impetus was provided by Andile Phehlukwayo who clubbed 25 not out off just 12 balls (2x4, 2x6) to lift the Dolphins to 148/5.
Phehlukwayo's assault on two of the leading bowlers in the competition Wayne Parnell and Beuran Hendricks during the death overs would particularly have pleased national convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang who was in attendance at St George's Park.
Province's spin bowlers George Linde (2/24) and Aviwe Mgijima (2/25) had shown the Dolphins the blue print to attain success on the sluggish surface and they duly followed suit by utilizing captain Prenelan Subrayen and Bryce Parsons to good effect.
Subrayen (2/17) was superb with the new ball before Parsons (3/22) kept the noose on during the middle overs with his left-arm wrist spin.
It was, however, a complete bowling performance with seamers Ethan Bosch (1/9), Ottniel Baartman (2/16) and Phehlukwayo (2/16) all chipping in to dismiss WP for a paltry 83 all out.
The Dolphins bonus point victory meant that the afternoon clash between the Warriors and North West was now reduced to a dead rubber.
Both teams did their best to entertain though with the North West ultimately edging the home side by 10 runs in a high-scoring thriller.
Veteran batter Heino Kuhn struck 78 off just 57 balls that set up the Dragons' 169/5 before the bowling unit held their nerve to restrict the Warriors to 159/9.
Unfortunately for the home fans the local hero Tristan Stubbs endured a rare failure, but the youngster still finishes as the tournament's leading scorer after the group stages.
The Titans will face the Dolphins in the first semi-final on Friday before the Western Cape derby between Western Province and the Paarl Rocks.