Dolphins looking to go one better in the T20 Challenge Cup final

KHAYA Zondo of the Dolphins carries the team’s hopes of a good start for the side in the T20 Challenge final. | BackpagePix

KHAYA Zondo of the Dolphins carries the team’s hopes of a good start for the side in the T20 Challenge final. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 28, 2024



THE Dolphins’ journey to the final has been one with twists and turns, but since the halfway point in the season they have strung together consistent performances which have seen them reach their second consecutive final against the Lions to be played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg today.

They will go head to head against a side that inflicted a seven wickets defeat when they last met in a rain-affected match, also in Johannesburg, earlier this month.

The visitors have a score to settle with their opponents – this will be the second final in four years between the sides, with the title just within their grasp. The Lions denied them victory in the 2020/21 final, winning by four wickets.

Last season the KZN side fell short again as they followed up their four-wicket loss with a four-run defeat in the final against another Gauteng team, the Titans. They will have to take advantage of reaching all these finals and coach Imraan Khan has asked his side to adapt better to the unpredictable nature of the game.

“It’s another opportunity for us to do the basics really well, and hopefully we are able to, as that will put us in a good place to get the result that we want, but in terms of T20 cricket and what this group of players have done over the last couple of years has been phenomenal. I think this is our fourth final in four consecutive seasons, so in such a format, it’s outstanding consistency.

“The Lions are a good side, they’ve played well at home, they have been playing good cricket this season and in particular in this T20 competition, but we’ve also played good cricket away from home, so it all lines up to be an exciting match.”

Unbeaten in seven matches, the Dolphins have been quietly going about their business effectively. New opener Khaya Zondo has fitted well into his new role. His innings of 49 off 23 balls played a huge hand in easing the chase when the Dolphins sailed past the Warriors by five wickets on Thursday to reach the final.

“He played an exceptional knock for us in the semi-final. He’s shown glimpses of it since he’s transitioned into that opening position and hopefully he continues that form into today’s match. But when I look at our group throughout the campaign, it’s been a real collective effort, everybody has stood up when we needed a performance and we hope that will be the case (in the final),” he concluded.