Dolphins edge Cobras by two runs in thriller
Dolphins 146 for 8 (Van Wyk 47, Kallis 4-26) beat Cobras 144 for 7 (Engelbrecht 56, Van Zyl 46, Abbott 2-17) by two runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Robbie Frylinck defended 14 off the last over and seven off the last ball to give Dolphins their first trophy in seven seasons as they edged Cobras by two runs in the final. This was Dolphins' maiden victory in the 20-over tournament and their first individual cup since the franchise system started in 2004-05. Previously, the Durban-based team shared the first-class title on two occasions, but this is their first outright win in over a decade.
Former captain Daryn Smit, who has been part of the Dolphins set-up throughout that time, could not hide his emotions after the win. "Eleven years in the changeroom without a hand on the trophy," he said, through the tears. "This is just special." Current captain Morne van Wyk also weighed in. "I am so proud of you guys" he said to this team-mates. "We started this journey together and look where we are now."
Van Wyk, who the Dolphins signed from the Knights at the start of the summer, proved his worth as he laid the foundation. He was not rattled by the early loss of Cameron Delport and took charge with a short-arm pull off Jacques Kallis - playing his first match for the Cobras in this tournament - which sailed for six.
At the halfway stage, van Wyk and Smit took the Dolphins to 75 for 2 but Smit's dismissal immediately after that threatened to peg them back. Van Wyk kept the scoreboard ticking almost alone before holing out off Sybrand Engelbrecht at long-off for 47.
He left it to David Miller, whose 93-run blitz off 37 balls in the playoff put Dolphins in the final, to accelerate. He showed off one "out of the park" shot off Engelbrecht and put on 32 runs for the fifth-wicket with Khaya Zondo but Dolphins could not take off from there either.
Kallis dismissed Zondo with the first ball of his second over, when Justin Kemp held one at long-on. He also accounted for Vaughn van Jaarsveld who pulled straight to midwicket without scoring in that over. Beuran Hendricks found the right length to bowl a tight penultimate over, which cost only two runs, and then Kallis returned to take another two wickets in the last over. Keshav Maharaj's six pushed Dolphins over the 140 mark, but it was still thought they were about 10 runs short.
By the end of the Cobras Powerplay, Dolphins would not have any such concerns. Mthokozisi Shezi, Frylinck and Kyle Abbott reduced them to 20 for 4, removing danger men Richard Levi and Jacques Kallis in single figures.
Dolphins loosened the noose after those early strikes and Stiaan van Zyl and Engelbrecht fought Cobras way back in. They rotated the strike well and Engelbrecht was particularly aggressive, taking 17 runs off Smit's third over. Their partnership grew to 91 as they took the team to 111 for 4 and ensured they required 36 runs from the last four overs.
Van Zyl was run out as the 17th over began; Frylinck aiming at one stump from midwicket and hitting. With no boundaries off that over, Dolphins transferred pressure back to Cobras. Kemp eased it somewhat with a six off the second last ball of the 18th over but Dolphins wrested it back when van Zyl was caught at mid-off, trying to clear the inner ring.
Dane Piedt's four to end that over left Cobras needing 14 off the final six balls and with Kemp on strike it seemed possible. A four and a single off the first two put Piedt in the firing line and he was run out by Frylinck in his followthrough, trying to get Kemp back into position to hit the winning runs.
Two full, straight balls conceded only singles and Kemp needed six off the final ball to send the match into a Super Over. Kemp cleared his frontfoot and went over deep mid-wicket but the ball bounced inside the boundary to put paid to the Cobras hopes of a third title in this format and give Dolphins their first.
The cup is Lance Klusener's first since taking over as head coach last season. Known for his stoic nature, Klusener gave away little throughout the match but at its conclusion, allowed himself a rare letting down of hair. He joined a team huddle and confessed he spent the three hours watching the match with many nerves.
"My emotions were just for the guys," he said. "My heart was just bleeding for them. They've worked so hard for this and they deserve it." Dolphins will compete in their first Champions League T20 as a result of this win.
They were due to compete in the inaugural event in 2008, which was cancelled because of the Mumbai terror attacks and have not managed to finish in the top two of South Africa's domestic 20-over competition since. Safe to say they are swimming in unchartered territory now.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent