He's back: Jayasuriya on fire
THEY made it interesting, but in the end, the KZN Dolphins pulled off a critical first-leg victory in the semi-finals of the Pro20 Series at Newlands last night.
Defending 163, after a Sanath Jayasuriya blitz at the start of their innings, the Dolphins almost choked as a defiant Richard Levi toiled desperately to haul the star-studded Cobras from the doldrums.
And it was Jayasuriya himself who almost turned from hero to zero, as his third over, and the 18th of the innings, disappeared for 16 runs, leaving the Cobras needing a not so daunting 25 off 12 balls for the unlikeliest of wins.
Step up Johan Louw, who bowled a nerveless six balls, snaring the wicket of Claude Henderson with one of his leg-cutters, but also conceding a mere two runs.
Twenty-three off six balls was always going to be too much for the Cobras, and they eventually lost by 14 runs.
The night had started brilliantly for the Dolphins, as Ahmed Amla won the toss and the opening pair of Jayasuriya and silver fox HD Ackerman scorched their way to 75 without loss by the eighth over.
Jayasuriya, back from international duty, signalled his intentions by smashing Rory Kleinveldt for three successive sixes.
When he fell for 41, however, the innings began to stutter and stumble, before almost grinding to a halt.
Ackerman played sensibly for his 62, but what looked like a possible 200 became “only” 162.
The Cobras, with Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibs and the mercurial JP Duminy in tow, looked set to cruise home.
But Yusuf Abdulla had other ideas. The swing merchant toppled Henry Davids leg-stump, before trapping Gibbs plumb in front with a beautiful inswinger.
At zero for two, the Cobras were in danger of folding dramatically. And when Abdulla had Duminy snaffled smartly by Daryn Smit, the game looked done.
Smith, from a Proteas perspective, looked in decent touch after a five-week layoff, but he holed out to Smit’s leg spin for 32.
It was all left to Levi and the tail, and they ensured the Newlands faithful stayed to the last with a spirited fightback.
But it was the Dolphins’ night, with Abdulla shining again with the ball. and “Sunny” Jayasuriya back with a bang.
They may yet seal their place in Friday’s final tomorrow, in the second leg at Kingsmead.
HD Ackerman c Ontong b Kleinveldt 62
S Jayasuriya b Ontong 41
HM Amla c and b Henderson 2
G Rowley c Gibbs b Duminy 22
J Louw c Smith b Langeveldt 8
A Amla not out 17
J Kent not out 7
Extras (1lb, 2w) 3
Total (5 wickets in 20 overs) 162
Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-82, 3-119, 4-136, 5-141
Bowling: Langeveldt 4-0-20-1, Henderson 4-0-21-1 (1w), Kleinveldt 4-0-49-1, Telemachus 4-0-43-0 (1w), Ontong 3-0-21-1, Duminy 1-0-7-1.
H Davids b Abdulla 0
G Smith c Thomas b Smit 32
H Gibbs lbw b Abdulla 0
J Duminy c Smit b Abdulla 17
A Puttick run out 2
J Ontong b Jayasuriya 9
R Levi not out 48
R Kleinveldt b Jayasuriya 0
R Telemachus c & b Louw 11
C Henderson b Louw 15
C Langeveldt not out 6
Extras (1b, 2lb, 4w ) 7
Total (9 wickets in 20 overs) 148
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-0, 3-35, 4-46, 5-63, 6-64, 7-64, 8-95, 9-139
Bowling: Abdulla 4-0-13-3, Friend 4-0-35-0, Louw 4-0-21-2, Amla 1-0-8-0, Smit 3-0-22-1 (1w), Jayasuriya 3-0-32-2 (1w), Thomas 1-0-14-0 (1w).
Result: Dolphins won by 14 runs.
Master Blaster Bowler: Yusuf Abdulla
Master Blaster Batsman: HD Ackerman.