Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2013-14 January 31, 2014

Dolphins, Cobras look good for final

ESPNcricinfo staff

Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson and Beuran Hendricks took Cape Cobras to the cusp of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final with a bonus-point victory over Lions in Johannesburg. All nine wickets that fell to the bowlers were shared equally among the trio as the home side was bundled out for 102

The new ball proved devastating after Cobras elected to field. Philander struck twice in the third over, Hendricks followed suit in the next and Lions were reeling at 18 for 5. Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris appeased Lions' dire need for a partnership with a 53-run union for the sixth wicket. But once that was broken, courtesy Peterson, the tail was exposed and the left-arm spinner treated himself to a couple of wickets.

The Cobras chase had few problems. Aaron Phangiso did claim a couple of wickets, but the target was too small to cause much strife in the visitors' dressing room. A controlled 45-run stand between Dane Vilas and Stiaan Van Zyl ushered them towards victory and the captain Justin Ontong sealed it in the 16th over.

Cameron Delport and Keshav Maharaj starred for Dolphins, who stayed in title contention by securing a bonus point as they beat Knights by 40 runs in a rain-affected clash in Durban. Six overs were lost to rain after the innings break and the revised target of 127 proved beyond Knights' reach.

Having been put in, Dolphins were given a rapid start and though Morne van Wyk succumbed after one shot too many, Delport kept growing in confidence. He slammed three consecutive sixes in the 13th over to plough past his fifty. And though he was out in the next over, David Miller took charge of the final overs, striking four fours and a six during a 27-ball 39 to hike the score to 170

Knights' battle against a required rate of nine runs per over got off to a poor start when they lost their openers inside three overs. They lost five wickets for 13 runs between the eighth and 11th overs, which killed off the contest. Slow left-armer Maharaj picked up three wickets, while Kyle Abbott, Robbie Frylinck and Daryn Smit chipped in with two each

Dolphins could secure a home final, provided they get a favourable result against Lions on Sunday and Cobras lose their final game against Warriors. However, if Cobras win they top the table and go through to the final and Dolphins would have to settle for hosting the second place play-off game.