Sunfoil Dolphins vs Cape Cobras – Ram Slam T20 Challenge Eliminator

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

Sunfoil Dolphins vs Cape Cobras | Wednesday 9 Dec | Sahara Stadium Kingsmead | 18:00

We’ve finally reached the business end of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, and after an enthralling month of cricket, only three teams remain in the competition. With the Unlimited Titans having secured a home final after a near-perfect season which saw them lose only one game, The Sunfoil Dolphins and the Cape Cobras will battle it out at Kingsmead for the right to play in the final at SuperSport Park Centurion.

To Win Match
Sunfoil Dolphins 8/10
Draw 35/1
Cape Cobras 1/1 

Last Meeting
The Cobra’s won the toss and were restricted to 142-7 after their 20 overs thanks to some tight bowling from Cameron Delport and Keshav Maharaj who stemmed the flow of runs in the middle overs. Paul Adams persisted with Wayne Parnell at the top of the order and it paid dividends yet again with the Proteas’ all-rounder scoring 27 off 25 balls. Justin Ontong (34), Robbie Peterson (35) and Rory Kleinveldt (17) were the other contributors to Cobra’s 142.

The Dolphins’ chase got off to the perfect start with Cameron Delport bludgeoning a quick fire 39 off just 36 balls. His dismissal brought David Miller to the crease, the Proteas’ big hitter struggled to settle before he was dismissed for 10 by Kleinveldt after a good catch in the deep by Lesoba Ngoepe. At this point the required run rate was getting away from the Dolphins, however, a gem of an innings from Jonathan Vandiar – who smashed 34 from just 18 balls – ensured that the hosts would at the very least book their place in the eliminator.

The real hero of the home sides' innings was captain Morne van Wyk. The Dolphins’ captain showed immense courage and maturity to bat through the innings, laying down the foundations from which the likes of Vandiar and Delport could launch from. He would finish the game with 60 runs from 52 balls as the Dolphins cruised to an eight wicket victory.

Sunfoil Dolphins
After a blistering start to their season – thanks largely to the endeavours of Kevin Pietersen – the Sunfoil Dolphins struggled in the middle part of this year’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge. The men from KZN opened their campaign by inflicting the Titans’ only defeat of the season, they would then go on to narrowly beat the Lions before comfortable wins against the Knights, Warriors propelled Lance Klusner’s men to the top of the table.

Their mid-season slump started with defeat to Saturday’s opponents, the Cobras, before they were comfortably beaten by the Titans, Lions and Knights – with a no result against the Warriors on 20 November. Their play-off hopes hinged on the final round robin fixture of the season in Durban against a much-fancied Cobras outfit last Friday, which they won comfortably in the end.

The Dolphins’ will be looking from a similar performance when they meet their Cape rivals at a packed Kingsmead this weekend. A strong showing from the top order coupled with some tight bowling from Maharaj and Delport could well be key to a Dolphins’ victory as was the case last Friday.

There is a strong chance that Kevin Pietersen will be available for selection heading into this game. If he indeed is available for selection, the home side could well have the edge in the eliminator. His incredible 364-run return in just five games is probably why the Dolphins find themselves in the eliminator in the first place.

Cape Cobras
The Cobras camp will have breathed a huge sigh of relief after the Warriors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Sunday afternoon against the Lions. The result ensured that Paul Adams and his men remained alive in the competition.

They will travel to Kingsmead on Saturday evening knowing that they’ll need a markedly improved performance if they are to get one over a resurgent Dolphins side. The Cape side will more than likely persist with Parnell and Richard Levi at the top of the order. If those two get going, they can and will take the game away from the KZN franchise in the blink of an eye.

They have plenty of firepower lower down the order too with Petersen, Kleinveldt, Ontong and Andrew Puttick all more than capable with the bat. Paul Adams' only real be worry will be his front-line bowlers - Kleinveldt and Parnell have a tendency to be quite expensive. If they give the likes of van Wyk and Delport an opportunity to get on top, the Cobra's fielders may well find themselves chasing leather to all parts of Kingsmead.  

Verdict: Dolphins 8/10
The feel good factor returned to Kingsmead after a dominant performance last time out against the Cobras.  With the top order firing again and the slower bowlers doing a fine job of curbing opposition run rates, I’d back the home side to book their place in the final at 8/10.

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