Sibonelo Makhanya eventually fell for 128, but by then, he had made his mark in the Dolphins middle-order. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Dolphins slipped back to the bottom of the Four-Day Franchise Series table, after they were handed a nine-wicket drubbing by the Lions at Kingsmead.

The fourth and final day was one which was always likely to be short, and saw the Dolphins still needing 65 runs to make the Lions bat again on Monday.

Sibonelo Makhanya was on 89 not out, and closing on a maiden century for the franchise.

Indeed, that was probably the only question left to answer in a match that the Dolphins had been well behind in ever since the opening day.

Makhanya started dramatically, even before he had faced a ball. He ran off to the point boundary, where he threw up his breakfast beyond the rope.

“That always happens when I eat before I bat!” he admitted after the match.

“In fact, whenever it happens, I always seem to make runs. So maybe I should do it more often.”

If there were any nerves, he then settled into his rhythm, and soon brought up a century of terrific quality. He eventually fell for 128, but by then he had made his mark in the middle-order, and got a big monkey off his back.

“It was a huge relief, actually. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and it was a happy moment.

“Obviously I would have preferred to do it in a winning cause, but it is really special for me.”

Makhanya added that there had been a lot of frustrating points in his career, but he was now hoping to kick on and really make 2019 count.

“There has been a lot of disappointment up to this point, but this is a great way to start the year.”

For the Dolphins, however, the loss sent them back to the bottom of the table.

It continues a frustrating season of fits and starts, and they next host the Knights in Pietermaritzburg.

That will be no easy feat, but they will hope players like Makhanya build on their current form, and others step up to the plate.

The red-ball season is almost at an end, and they still need to at least feel that they have achieved something when it ends.

The Knights are next on the agenda, and then the mighty Cobras arrive at the end of the month.

It will not get any easier.

@whamzam17


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