DURBAN - The points table will note it as yet another no-result for the Dolphins, but a heck of a lot happened before the whole affair was abandoned at Kingsmead on Friday night. The rain, so often the foe for the Dolphins this season, actually came to their rescue, as their RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match against the Cape Cobras was abandoned.
When the players went off the field, the Dolphins were at a precarious 8 for one from 2.1 overs, already behind the Duckworth/Lewis eight-ball, and with the Cobras just 17 balls away from constituting a match with the minimum of five overs.
The final result was hard on the visitors, who had seen skipper JP Duminy bludgeon 85 not out from just 44 balls to see them to 172 for four, before Dane Paterson bowled Sarel Erwee with his first ball. Their tails were up and, on the back of three consecutive victories, they would have fancied making it four on the trot.
The Dolphins actually started well with ball in hand, as spinners Imran Tahir and Keshav Maharaj bowled accurately upfront, even in the face of some quite sparkling stroke-play from Hashim Amla. Amla was dismissive of anything that was too full. His driving down the ground was as sure as ever, but there was a touch more grunt in each stroke, almost to emphasise the touch that he is in.
The former Dolphins captain breezed to 40 off 29 balls, but was deceived in length by Mahraj, who nabbed him in front. The Cobras had already lost Temba Bavuma by then, as the embattled international lifted Mthokozisi Shezi’s first ball straight into the hands of Maharaj at third man. While Bavuma flounders, Duminy continues to flourish in domestic bliss.
The purity of his striking lifted the Cobras beyond 150, and he was especially punitive on Andile Phehlukwayo. The final over of the Cobras’ innings travelled for 25, as Duminy hit the last five balls for 6,6,4,6,2. Convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, who was in attendance, would have enjoyed seeing the limited-overs specialist in full-flow, as he hammered the Dolphins for missing their lengths.
Match Abandoned : unfortunately for the third time in a row here at Kingsmead, the match has been called off because of the rain. @hollywoodbets Dolphins will have to settle for another two points. #DurbanDolphins#BringItIn#RamSlam#DOLvCOB pic.twitter.com/OWjn6JtqWh
The men from Cape Town lean heavily on their two Protea aces, and they will go a long way in the competition if that king pair keep making runs. The Dolphins, meanwhile, will be happy that their bowlers got a run out.
Though they have consistently denied any rustiness, they were found wanting at the business end of the Cobras’ innings. The sharpness of being regularly under the cosh was missing, and few can blame them after a fourth washout out of six matches.
They travel to Port Elizabeth next, where they will take on a desperate Warriors outfit on Sunday. They will cross their fingers for a full game, because they are now in danger of reaching the semis by collecting two points for each abandoned match, but getting there with no momentum to speak of.
As for the Durban crowd – which was again over 5000 – they will be grateful for finally seeing some cricket, and they will try again on Wednesday against the Lions. It can’t rain forever, surely.