A magical double hundred by Zubayr Hamza lit up the penultimate day of the decisive 4-Day Domestic Series encounter between the Dolphins and the table-topping Cape Cobras in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.
The young right-hander recorded 201 (342 balls, 20x4, 1x6) as the visiting side amassed 523/7 declared, before the hosts reached 66/0 – still trailing by 147 runs – when bad light ended play with more than 20 overs still remaining.
It was a superb effort from Hamza, his maiden double at franchise level and the second of his first-class career, as his side claimed enough bonus points to ensure they were ahead of title rivals the Highveld Lions heading into the final day of the four-day campaign.
The Cape side will now know that the least they need to do on day four is match the result of their Gauteng rivals, who are playing the Warriors in Potchefstroom, in order to clinch the title.
And they showed good intent from the start of three, which they resumed on 245/3 with Hamza on 104, alongside Kyle Verreynne (41).
The pair stretched their partnership to 176 for the fourth wicket, before Verreynne was disappointingly run out for 88 (167 balls, 7x4).
However, Aviwe Mgijima made up for that loss by striking 61 (94 balls, 6x4) as he and Hamza put on a further 95 for wicket number six, with George Linde (20), Vernon Philander (21 not out) and Dane Paterson (30 not out) all playing their part to help the Cobras establish a 213-run lead.
DAY 3 | AMAZING HAMZA— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) January 30, 2019
Zubayr Hamza reaches second 1st class double ton. It took a brilliant catch to remove him for 201.
The lead now stands at 122 runs as we have 432/5.#StrengthInDiversity #4DaySeries #DOLvCOB pic.twitter.com/g0alAzINPh
Keshav Maharaj sent down a whopping 56 overs for the most successful Dolphins figures of 2/217.
It was then down to the home batsmen, and they did not wilt under pressure thanks to Vaughn van Jaarsveld (19) and Michael Erlank (46) – the pair taking their side to stumps with all 10 wickets intact.
DAY 3 | STUMPS— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) January 30, 2019
The penultimate day of the final #4DaySeries belonged to Zubayr Hamza.
The right-hander reached his second first-class double century as we declared on 523/7.
The Dolphins ended the day on 66/0, trailing by 147 runs.#StrengthInDiversity #DOLvCOB pic.twitter.com/3oJFxBhNRe
Cricket South Africa