Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2015-16 December 5, 2015

Dolphins in hunt for home play-off spot

ESPNcricinfo staff

File photo: Morne van Wyk regained form at a crucial time to seal Dolphins' victory © Getty Images

Cape Cobras' decision to bat, and then use allrounder Wayne Parnell as opener, backfired on them as they slipped to an eight-wicket defeat. Dolphins seamer Rabian Engelbrecht and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took four wickets between them to give their batsmen a target of only 143. Then the captain Morne van Wyk stepped up with an unbeaten 60 off 52 balls to seal their progress into the play-offs. He had managed only 52 runs in his last five innings, but came good at the right time not least because it allows Dolphins a shot at a home play-off match on Wednesday.

The chase was completed with 10 balls to spare and its foundation was a 62-run opening partnership. Cameron Delport got off to a flyer - four fours and a six inside two overs - and van Wyk was not too far behind with his twin fours and a six off Rory Kleinveldt in the fourth over. By then the required rate had dipped down to 6.25, which allowed the Dolphins to cruise through the rest of the chase until Jonathan Vandiar came to the crease at the fall of David Miller's wicket for only 10 and bashed 34 off 12 balls to seal the deal.

Cape Cobras did not have that luxury - Engelbrecht bowled Richard Levi off the fifth ball of the match and Andrew Puttick was caught behind in the next over, Parnell, set up to open the innings as perhaps a pinch-hitting option, now had to graft and made 27 off 25 balls before he was dismissed by Maharaj in the 10th over. Cape Cobras were 65 for 4 and despite a couple of thirties from Justin Ontong (34 off 46) and Robin Peterson (25 off 22) and a rapid Kleinveldt (17 off 8) to round off the innings, they could not put up a strong enough total and now their chance to progress is under threat.

A brisk half-century from Somila Seyibokwe was instrumental in Warriors chasing down a target of 171 against Knights in Bloemfontein. He had come in amid some trouble - the score had been 12 for 2 - but managed to hold the middle-order up with a match-winning fourth-wicket partnership of 107 runs with 65 balls with JJ Smuts. Warriors can move into the next round if they win their final match of the season against the already eliminated Lions, and if it is by a sizable margin, even secure a home play-off.

Not that it wasn't tense though. Warriors needed eight off the last over, which was given to the Knights' best bowler on the day - Andre Russell. who began with a dot ball and bettered it by dismissing Seyibokwe off the next. With eight needed off four now, a couple of singles were taken before Christiaan Jonker struck the crucial boundary and then completed the two runs that were needed off the final ball of the chase.

Russell must have felt quite sore after the loss - he had hammered 52 off only 24 balls, but after he was dismissed Knights could get only 15 more runs in the last 15 balls of the innings. And Similarly on the bowling front, he claimed two early wickets and then came back to get rid of the Warriors' best batsman, but it ended in vain. Rilee Rossouw was the only other notable contribution with the bat with 43 off 37 balls.

Quinton de Kock and Albie Morkel took control of a rain-reduced game to spearhead Titans' 68-run victory. They have already secured a home final next Saturday. The Benoni game against Lions was reduced to 15-overs-a-side, which worked out fine for Titans. De Kock belted 88 off 43 balls with six fours and seven sixes to put up a score of 158. Then Duckworth and Lewis did their bit to hand Lions a target of 162, which was well more then enough as Morkel knocked over three of their top-five batsmen for single-figures.

De Kock was brutal. He was out there for 11 overs and found the boundary during the course of nine of them, and perhaps got the elements excited. Lightning stopped play in the fifth over and then the fifth over and then came the rain. Henry Davids gave good company with 47 off 31 balls to establish a run-rate of 10.53 at the end of their innings.

In response, Lions had only two men reaching double-figures. Dominic Hendricks got 43 off 37 balls, but with Morkel ripping through his batting partners every other over the score had slipped to 29 for 5 before the end of the Powerplay and there was no recovery from that. Indeed, Lions only just managed to bat out the 15 overs and finished on 98 for 8.