Keshav Maharaj spins the Cobras in a web
CAPE TOWN - The playing of spin seems in all likelihood to remain a perpetual struggle for South African batsmen.
Regardless of whether the batsmen are wearing Proteas green, Titans sky blue, Knights navy, Dolphins black or Cape Cobras royal blue, the struggles are all the same. That much was evident after the opening day of the CSA T20 Challenge at Kingsmead.
In the opening game Tabraiz Shamsi spun the Titans to victory over the Knights before his Proteas spinning partner Keshav Maharaj (4/15) bettered young Cobras left-armer Siyabonga Mahima's 4/18, which included a last over hat-trick to drive the Dolphins to a 14-run victory over the Cobras in the afternoon.
They were not the only spinners that had the batsmen guessing all day. Prenelan Subrayen (1/19) and Senuran Muthusamy (1/21) also achieved success for the Dolphins to peg back a promising Cobras run chase, while the visitors' off-spinner Imran Manack delivered a tidy spell of four overs for just 24 runs.
In fact, although George Linde was the most expensive spinner of the day conceding 40 runs from his four overs, but even he could have had the biggest impact on the match.
The Dolphins had just lost David Miller and Muthusamy in a short space of time when new batsman Khaya Zondo swept across the line to Linde before he had even opened his account.
The ball sailed high into the air where Jason Smith made the ground at mid-wicket, but unfortunately could not settle himself to take the chance.
It was the break that Zondo - and the Dolphins - desperately required as the stylish right-hander broke the shackles with a free-flowing innings that ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.
Zondo was intent to attack from the outset and was eager to express himself - even astonishingly adopting a left-handed stance to Mahima during one over. The results weren't always pretty, but it was effective with Zondo stroking 59 off just 39 balls to lift the Dolphins to 155/8.
It was an impressive effort after the home team were earlier placed at a slippery 106/5 with just five overs remaining. They were also aided by the Cobras' generosity, who delivered 19 wides that ballooned the extras tally to a whopping 25.
This ultimately proved fatal for the Cobras with the run chase falling short by just 14 runs, despite solid contributions from Jonker (41*), De Zorzi (39), and Verreynne (29).