Rampant Dolphins dent WP’s play-off hopes

Andile Simelane of the Dolphins smashed through a poor Western Province batting line-up yesterday. | BackpagePix

Andile Simelane of the Dolphins smashed through a poor Western Province batting line-up yesterday. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 14, 2024


Zaahier Adams

Western Province’s semi-final chances in the Cricket SA T20 Challenge are now hanging by a thread after a heavy eight-wicket defeat to the Dolphins at Newlands yesterday.

After an impressive start that saw the One-Day Cup champions win three consecutive matches at the beginning of the T20 campaign, Province have lost their way in spectacular fashion.

Andile Simelane of the Dolphins smashed through a poor Western Province batting line-up yesterday. | BackpagePix

Injuries to key players and David Bedingham’s return to English County Championship side Durham have played a role, but that does not excuse the woeful batting performances Province have delivered of late.

Salieg Nackerdien’s team were rolled for 96 in just 17 overs. It was not as if there were any demons in the Newlands surface or that the Dolphins bowled particularly well, but instead it was a purely inept effort from the hosts. And yet everything had started with much promise for Province on a glorious sunlit autumn afternoon in Cape Town.

Province openers Eddie Moore (19) and Tony de Zorzi (22) raced out of the starting blocks and posted 45-0 in just four overs. But once Moore was deceived by an Ethan Bosch slower ball and De Zorzi holed out to a short delivery, it was all downhill for the team in blue.

Young Dolphins all-rounder Andile Simelane was the chief destroyer for the visitors with the former SA U19 star picking up the wickets of Jonathan Bird (15) and George Linde with successive deliveries. Simelane was denied a hat-trick, but returned to pick up the wicket of Juan James to finish with figures of 3-12 from his four overs.

Captain Prenelan Subrayen (3-18) offered good support as he ran through the WP tail as all resistance crumbled.

The Dolphins’ chase was straightforward from the outset with Khaya Zondo putting Western Province under pressure from the opening over.

Khaya Zondo of the Dolphins made a quickfire 35 as his team easily chased down Western Province’s 96 all out. | BackpagePix

The experienced right-hander, who has been promoted to open the batting due to Bryce Parsons’ injury, showed his intentions with a straight six and a boundary off Kyle Simmonds’ first over. From thereon it was only a matter of time before the Dolphins passed Province’s target.

Zondo certainly looked to entertain as he executed a couple of exciting ramp shots that flew to the boundary before eventually succumbing for 35 off just 23 balls.

Opening partner Grant Roelofsen also lost his wicket for 21 off 19 balls, but the visitors had nothing to be alarmed about as Jon-Jon Smuts (16 not out) and Marques Ackerman (19 not out) comfortably took the Dolphins to the bonus point in just 11.1 overs.

The Lions players celebrate after comfortably beating the Dragons at the Wanderers yesterday. | BackpagePix

Meanwhile, the Wanderers also played host to a one-sided affair with the Lions romping to a 10-wicket bonus-point win over the North West Dragons. The makeshift opening pair of Zubayr Hamza and Connor Esterhuizen, who both scored 41 not out off 28 balls, had no trouble in knocking off the Dragons’ 85 all out in just 9.2 overs.

At Centurion, the Titans have given themselves the best chance of edging Western Province to the fourth and final semi-final spot with a bonus-point victory over the Tuskers.

After good bowling from David Wiese (3-21) and Dayyaan Galiem (3-24) limited the Tuskers to 141, Rivaldo Moonsamy led the charge with an unbeaten 90 as the Titans romped home by eight wickets in 12.3 overs.

The Titans now occupy fourth place heading into the final week of the league phase with 27 points compared to WP’s 23.

In the last match yesterday, the Rocks shocked the table-topping Warriors with a five-wicket victory at Boland Park. The Rocks chased down 128 for victory with 18 balls to spare.

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