Warriors 118 for 3 (Smuts 54, Ackermann 41*, Phehlukwayo 2-3) beat Dolphins 115 for 9 (Chetty 24, Frylinck 23, Birch 3-16) by seven wickets
A good performance in the field that saw all six bowlers taking wickets, followed by a clinical run-chase, helped the Warriors clinch a bonus-point victory against the Dolphins in their first CSA T20 Challenge game Durban.
The Warriors chose to field and it seemed like the right decision as they made their first breakthrough in the second over - opener Cameron Delport was caught-and-bowled by Andrew Birch for 1. In the next over, Basheeru-Deen Walters dismissed Khaya Zondo for a duck - which had the Dolphins on 3 for 2, 14 balls into the match.
The Dolphins were soon reduced to 16 for 3 in the fifth over, but a 27-run partnership between Morne Van Wyk (22 off 20) and Kyle Nipper (20 off 25) steadied proceedings for the next four overs, before Van Wyk departed with the team's score on 43. Ten runs later, Kyle Nipper was dimissed and the Dolphins were reeling at 54 for 5 after 12 overs, at a sluggish run rate of 4.5 per over.
A late surge by fast bowlers Robbie Frylinck and Craig Alexander saw them put on 24 runs in 11 deliveries for the eighth wicket, including a 19th over that went for 15 runs - the team's highest of the match. This pushed the total past 100, but Birch returned in the final over, and dismissed both of them to finish with figures of 3 for 16 from his four overs.
The Warriors needed 116 to win, at a rate of less than six per over. Their chase started swiftly, as they collected 17 runs in the first over - courtesy two sixes and a four by JJ Smuts. But that was followed by Andile Phehlukwayo striking twice in two overs - dismissing opener Somila Seyibokwe and Colin Ingram - to reduce the Warriors to 26 for 2.
However, Smuts partnered with Colin Ackermann for a 60-ball partnership of 78 runs that took the Warriors past 100 and close to victory.
Smuts' 39-ball 54 - an innings that consisted of five fours and three sixes - was ended by Imran Tahir, but by then they needed just 12 to win off 34 deliveries. The end of the 15th over saw a delay due to power outage in the stadium, but once play resumed, Ackermann, who scored a 39-ball 41, batted alongside Christiaan Jonker (6*) to take the Warriors to victory by seven wickets, with 25 balls to spare.