Ram Slam T20 Challenge: Sunfoil Dolphins vs bizhub Highveld Lions

Written by Jason Dewey for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

Sunfoil Dolphins v bizhub Highveld Lions | Wednesday 4 October | Sahara Stadium Kingsmead | 17:45

The Sunfoil Dolphins will play their first Ram Slam T20 home fixture when they take on the bizhub Highveld Lions on Wednesday evening at Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead. Both teams head into the fixture off the back of solid wins against the two strongest sides in this year’s tournament, the Unlimited Titans and the Cape Cobras.

To Win Match
Dolphins 13/20
Draw 35/1
Lions 5/4

The Sunfoil Dolphins
The Dolphins will be happy enough with their first outing in this year’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge. The men from KZN put in an excellent batting display at the top of the order which saw five of the first six batsmen score 20 or more and return strike rates of over 100.

Morne van Wyk and Cameron Delport opened the batting for the Dolphins and were kept quiet for the first three overs. Delport, who went on to score an 18 ball 25 was lucky to survive an LBW appeal in the early overs which television replays suggest should have been out. The KZN franchise really got going in the fourth over when Delport and van Wyk smashed 21 runs off of Marchant de Lange’s first over. Delport would eventually fall in the fifth, bringing Kevin Pietersen to the wicket. It was van Wyk, however, who continued to attack the Titans’ bowlers eventually scoring an outstanding 41 runs off of just 29 balls after being castled by Albie Morkel. The big-hitting David Miller walked out to the middle and proceeded to smash an unbeaten 62 off of just 32 balls. He would receive support from Cody Chetty toward the back end of the innings. The duo eventually took the Dolphins score to 179-4 after the allotted twenty overs.

The Dolphins got off to a solid defence of their 174, getting rid of the in-form Quinton de Kock in the second over; the diminutive opener was caught by Delport off the bowling of Prenelan Subrayen who went on to be the pick of the Dolphins' bowlers, taking four wickets and going for just 22 runs in his four overs. The hosts looked to be in deep trouble as they lost Grant Mokena and Heino Kuhn in consecutive Andile Phelukwayo overs. Wickets continued to tumble with frightening regularly as Keshav Maharaj and Prenelan Subrayen found an abundance of turn and bounce off the dry SuperSport Park deck. The visitors would have had their hearts in their mouths, however, as Albie Morkel decided to launch, scoring 67 off of just 34 balls. The Titans’ fight ended after Phelukwayo’s last over went for just 4 leaving the hosts with 24 to get off the final over. The men from Pretoria would fall seven runs short of their target giving the Dolphins the ideal start to their first win of the campaign.

The bizhub Highveld Lions
The Lions overcame a dangerous Cape Cobra’s side at PPC Newlands on Sunday evening after sauntering along to a seven-wicket victory in a rain-affected game.

After winning the toss, the Lions sent the home side in to bat. Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick strolled out to the crease and proceeded to pillage 54 runs in just 5.3 overs. Dwaine Pretorius would eventually break the partnership after Levi picked out Eddie Leie on the midwicket boundary. The wicket sparked a collapse as the hosts lost three wickets in the sixth over. Phangiso got Puttick after a sharp catch from Tsolekile saw the big opener on his way. Omphile Ramela was run out two balls later while Ontong played down the wrong line and was trapped in front LBW by the Proteas off-spinner. The Cobras have Kieron Pollard to thank for posting a defendable total after the big West Indian scored an unbeaten 29 with the home side finishing on 125 off of their 18 overs.

The Lions came in to bat and never really looked like losing. Openers Rassie van der Dussen and Devon Conway put on an opening partnership of 42 runs before Conway was caught at long on off the bowling of Pollard. Alviro Petersen strode to the crease and looked comfortable enough, allowing his partner to do the attacking. Petersen would go on to score 15 before being caught at midwicket, again off the bowling of Pollard. Dwaine Pretorius walked in at number four and scored a quick-fire 24 of 14 balls to effectively end any hope the home side had of winning the game.

Verdict: David Miller Top Dolphins Batsman 7/2 
Both sides will head to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Wednesday with the belief that they can go all the way in this season's edition of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. The Dolphins, however, look a different class on paper. With KZN franchise possessing the strongest top order in the competition, the Lions’ bowlers will have to be spot-on if they want to keep the likes of van Wyk, Delport, Miller and Pietersen quiet. The Dolphins don't really offer much value for the win at 13/20. Instead, go for David Miller to top score for the home side at 7/2.

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