CricketDolphins into T20 Knockout final
─── 15:26 Thu, 21 Oct 2021
The Dolphins showcased the big match temperament that saw them qualify for yet another domestic final when they overcame the Titans in the first CSA T20 Knockout semi-final in Kimberley on Thursday.
Ottniel Baartman equalled the tournament’s best bowling figures of four for 18 to dismiss the Titans for 139, as Gihahn Cloete top-scored with 62, before Khaya Zondo’s 20th career half-century then helped guide the Dolphins to an impressive four-wicket triumph.
Coming into the contest in sublime form with four out of four wins, the Dolphins lost the toss and were asked to bowl first, making early inroads into the Titans top-order.
Baartman and Ruan de Swardt (2/22) were responsible for the Titans wickets to fall within the powerplay, as the former struck two key blows in the fifth over to restrict the men from Tshwane to just 32/3 after 6 overs.
Having lost wickets at the other end, opening batter Cloete stayed measured at the crease, ticking the scoreboard along before partnering with the hero from the quarter-final, Donovan Ferreira (27) in a 62-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Cloete eventually reached his sixth fifty in T20 cricket, dispatching seven fours and one six in his 49-ball 62 despite losing Ferreira who became De Swardt’s second victim of the day.
Former Under-19 World Cup-winning all-rounder, Corbin Bosch then delivered crucial big hits with the bat lower down the order, adding a quickfire 21, including two sixes to push his side towards a competitive score.
Youngsters Thando Ntini (2/26) and Odirile Modimokoane (1/36) also pitched in with important middle-order wickets for the Dolphins, who will rue the amount of dropped catches in the field that would have made their job easier.
Faced with chasing a target that could be tricky, the Dolphins made a relatively positive start at the crease, adding 33 runs for the first two wickets, including that of Keegan Pietersen (17) before Sarel Erwee and Zondo took control of the game.
Erwee smashed two sixes and two fours for his 33 off 31 balls, as the right-hander along with the experienced Zondo combined for 59 runs to edge towards victory.
The Titans injected some life into their defence, with Dayyaan Galiem (2/24) and Simon Harmer (1:27) picking up three wickets in the space of nine balls to leave the Dolphins on 97/5 in the 15th, still needing 42 runs to win.
Despite the Titans having their tail up in the field, Zondo showed his class and experience that once allowed him to play for South Africa, to steady the ship with controlled batting before teeing off in the 19th over to all but seal the result.
Zondo ended on an unbeaten 58* off 45 deliveries (5 fours, 2 sixes) to finish as the Batter of the Match and secure his team’s place in Friday’s final at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.