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February 6, 2011
The Dolphins have kicked off their Pro20 campaign with two wins in their first two matches, both times while defending a total. They lie on top of the table after week two. On Wednesday night, they recorded a six-run victory over the Knights in a rain-affected encounter in Bloemfontein. Loots Bosman was the mainstay of the Dolphins innings with a blistering 57 off 41 balls. He got the Dolphins off to a rollicking start and was beginning to form what could have been a dangerous partnership with David Miller. Miller was on 26 when a ball he hit off Dean Elgar struck Bosman on the helmet and flew to Ryan McLaren at cover. Miller was out, albeit bizarrely, and Bosman was left to bat with a headache. Vaughn van Jaarsveld's 27 off 22 balls was the other contribution to the Dolphins 171 for six. McLaren ended with three for 34.
The Knights chase began on the wrong foot when Adrian McLaren was bowled by Kyle Abbott for 8. Elgar scored an aggressive 48 off 33 and was helped by Rilee Rossouw's 23 and Ryan Bailey's 31. The Dolphins rotated eight bowlers to strangle the Knights and ensured they were in front of the Duckworth-Lewis target when the rain came down with the Knights on 117 for 3.
Rain didn't interrupt the Dolphins' second victory on Friday, an 11-run triumph over the Warriors in East London. Makhaya Ntini and Andrew Birch pegged the Dolphins back early with the wickets of Devon Conway for 18 and Bosman for 11. There was no freak dismissal for Miller this time and he put on a fine display of his best asset, the ability to hit the ball cleanly, scoring 90 off 57 balls. There wasn't much to speak of for the rest of the line-up, and the Dolphins ended on 155 for four. Rusty Theron was the Warriors best bowler 1 for 20.
Pakistan international Yasir Arafat claimed the Warriors' first wicket, that of Davy Jacobs for 1. Ashwell Prince and Justin Kreusch also fell cheaply and the Warriors were in trouble at 28 for 3. Mark Boucher threatened to take the game away from the Dolphins with a quickfire 43 off 31 and a potentially match winning partnership with Jon-Jon Smuts, who scored 68 off 51. The Dolphins used seven bowlers this time and although they only took five Warriors wickets, they were able to control the run flow. Smuts remained unbeaten at the end with the Warriors finishing on 144 for five.
The Titans beat the Lions by one wicket in a thrilling last-ball finish at the Wanderers on the same day. The Titans put the Lions in to bat and they were off to a brisk start. When Jonathan Vandiar fell in the sixth over, the Lions had scored 44. At the halfway stage they were 90 for 1. Alviro Petersen's 54 off 42 balls held the innings together. David Wiese and Ethy Mbhalati bowled tightly to drag the Lions back from a score that looked destined to cross the 200 mark. The Lions ended on 169 for five.
The Titans lost Blake Snijman without a run on the board when he was bowled by Ethan O'Reilly's third ball. Roelof van der Merwe and Henry Davids didn't last lone. Big hitters Farhaan Berhardien and Albie Morkel came and went quickly, the former to the first ball Neil McKenzie bowled. Jacques Rudolph's 58 off 43 kept the scales in balance and when he went, the Titans needed 29 off three overs. Andre Nel helped skittle that down to 8 off the last over and Mbhalati's cheeky leg-glance off the last ball gave the Titans their first victory in three matches.
Rain had its say in the last match of the week between the Knights and the Cape Cobras in Bloemfontein which was reduced to 14 overs a side, and then to 10 overs after an interruption. The Cobras were put in to bat and the Knights were left to rue their decision as none of their bowlers claimed a wicket. Richard Levi scored 51 off 30 balls and Herschelle Gibbs finally made an impact with 33 off 26. He was run out by Reeza Hendricks and the Cobras totalled 91 for one.
It was a tricky chase for the Knights, who lost six wickets in pursuit of the revised target of 95. Rossouw's 35 off 17 balls was the only notable score. Charl Langeveldt removed Elgar and Ryan Bailey fell to Johan Louw cheaply. Philander, Claude Henderson and Justin Ontong leaked 43 in four overs but Langevedlt struck again at a crucial time to remove Johan van der Wath for 13. At 71 for six in the ninth over, 24 were needed off 10 balls. The Knights managed to ten to end on 81 and hand the Cobras a 13-run victory.
Batsman of the week: After being left out of the World Cup squad, it would have been easy for David Miller to crawl into a shell. Instead, he showed his mettle with a convincing innings against the Warriors and displayed his intent for a national recall in the near future.
Bowler of the week: Under pressure, he is still one of the best death bowlers in the country. Charl Langevedlt conceded 10 in two overs and took two key wickets for the Cobras as they beat the Knights.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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