A spate of wide deliveries by the Dolphins — there were 19 extras amongst the first 22 runs — did much for the cause of the Eagles as they came back to snatch victory by three wickets in their MTN domestic championship cricket match at Kingsmead on Friday night.
The defeat ended the Dolphins’ campaign for the season, with Sunday’s match against the Cape Cobras now a meaningless exercise.
Ryan McLaren, man of the match, finished with 82 not out for the Eagles — this after he had been dropped a couple of times early in his innings — after the Dolphins’ bowlers had the Eagles struggling along at snail’s pace on a seamer-friendly wicket.
The Dolphins batted first and scored 183-6 off their 45 overs; the Eagles replied with 184-7.
McLaren hit seven fours and two towering sixes to end the Eagles’ innings in style.
It was a different story in the early part of the match as the first Eagles batsman to cross into double figures managed it only in the 12th over, at a point when there were 23 additional runs gifted to them out of a total of 44-1.
Dophins bowler Yusuf Abdullah, apart from giving away the bulk of the wides in his early overs, was almost unplayable from his third over onwards, with his left-arm seamers coming through at express pace on a pitch conducive to prodigious swing.
He bowled his nine overs on the trot for a return of 1-24, of which only seven were scored by the batsmen. Once again, the Dolphins’ innings revolved around the batting of skipper Ahmed Amla, who ended with 83 not out in which he hit eight fours.
Rivash Gobind, opening the batting in the place of the injured Doug Watson, scored a solid 38 in support but was out to a somewhat tame caught-and-bowled dismissal at the hands of spinner Thandi Tshabalala at a time when the Dolphins seemed set to shake off the woes of their batting failures in recent games.
Together with Amla he added 71 runs off 111 balls for the second wicket. — Sapa