Klusener stars as Dolphins scrape home
Dolphins 163 for 4 (Klusener 48*, Benkenstein 43, Sugden 41) beat Lions 162 for 6 (Ackerman 80, Bacher 40) by six wickets with one ball to spare
A record crowd of 18,221 for the Standard Bank PRO20 Series saw the Dolphins record a thrilling six-wicket win against the Lions as Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock provided the late-over heroics.
The Lions made a good start after being sent in to bat on a slow pitch. Adam Bacher and Neil McKenzie clattered 17 off the first two overs before McKenzie, back in Johannesburg after signing for the Lions mid-week, edged one to slip off Klusener for 8. Bacher, who had earlier smacked Klusener's first ball for a six, struck five fours after that and raced to 40. Hylton Ackerman then played a captain's innings, scoring 80 off 53. He used a mix of delicate touches and brute force to strike seven fours and three sixes. The Lions managed 162 for 6, amid losing wickets at the end of the innings.
The Dolphins got off to a very poor start. Too many balls were left alone and too many dot balls raised the required run-rate considerably. The pressure applied led to a few close run-out calls, one of which was successful as Hashim Amla hesitated just long enough to end up short. Craig Sugden and Dale Benkenstein had just started to get things back on track when Sugden lofted a leg-side full-toss down the throat of long-leg. He made 41. That brought Klusener to the crease and with 86 needed off the last 8, the game was still in the balance.
A 43 from Benkenstein, hitting three sixes, kept the Dolphins within striking distance. And with an over to go, Shaun Pollock and Klusener needed 14 more. Five balls later it was over with Pollock finishing it off with two huge consecutive sixes over long-on. Pollock ended with 16 off 6 while Klusener, reinforcing his reputation as a master at the finish, blitzed 48 off just 25.
Rain in the Western Cape washed out the match between Western Province Boland and the Eagles at Paarl without a ball being bowled.