Ram Slam T20 Challenge: Hollywoodbets Dolphins vs bizhub Highveld Lions Preview

Batsman Hits Ball

We preview Wednesday's Ram Slam T20 Challenge clash between the Hollywoodbets Dolphins and the bizhub Highveld Lions. 

The Hollywoodbets Dolphins succumbed to their second defeat of the season on Sunday as they went down by a run against the Warriors in Port Elizabeth.

Khaya Zondo and his charges will be hoping that the rain predicted for Wednesday stays away. Any further washouts could well dent the KZN franchise’s hopes of a semi-final berth.

Dolphins vs Lions | Wednesday 6 December | Sahara Stadium Kingsmead | 18:00

To Win Match
Dolphins 82/100 | Tie 35/1 | Lions 21/20 

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Hollywoodbets Dolphins
The Dolphins were their own worst enemies against the Warriors on Sunday. Dane Vilas’ missed a simple enough chance to stump Christiaan Jonker in the eighth over before the big Warriors batsman let loose against Imran Tahir and Andile Phelukwayo – two overs that would see the Eastern Cape franchise claim the four points.

Then there were some of the shots offered up by the Dolphins top order. Scoring was always going to be difficult on a typically sticky Port Elizabeth wicket, so why on earth both Sarel Erwee and the returning Vaughn van Jaarsveld both opted to try and deposit Andrew Birch over mid-wicket so early in their innings remains a mystery.

They’d go on to be knocked over in the space of three balls by the Warriors’ seamer who did nothing other than aim for off stump. We also need to remember that the Dolphins haven’t had much cricket over the last few weeks with all but one of their matches prior to Sunday’s encounter having been affected by rain.

While there were a few iffy performances which probably came down to a lack of playing time, others shone. Robbie Frylinck bagged only the third ever hat-trick in this competition with Sibonelo Makhanya continuing to grow as a batting all-rounder.

The 21-year-old looked assured with the bat on his way to an excellent 24-ball 33 before he was caught on the square leg boundary looking for one big shot too many. Morne van Wyk also came to the party, showing all of his experience as he scored a measured 57 before being run out late on.

Looking ahead, I don’t think we’ll see many changes to this side. Mthokozisi Shezi and Frylinck were excellent last time out with their medium pace while Keshav Maharaj kept things tidy at his end, conceding just 24-runs from his four overs.

Better showings will be required from Imran Tahir who was poor and Andile Phelukwayo who was unusually loose with ball in hand. They’re not a million miles off from where they need to be and will welcome the chance to play in familiar condition on Wednesday.

bizhub Highveld Lions
With Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen piling on the runs for the bizhub Highveld Lions, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the men from Johannesburg finish in second place on the log to set-up a home semi-final.

They play their final away round-robin game this Wednesday before returning to the Highveld for two very winnable games against the Warriors and the VKB Knights. They were unfortunate last time out in Bloem as bad weather caused yet another abandonment in a competition that’s seen seven matches rained out already.

The Lions really do have match winners wherever you look. Of course most will point out Hendricks and van der Dussen, but guys like Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Aaron Phangiso and Hardus Viljoen have all thrilled local crowds with their skills this season.

Rabada has been the pick of the seamers in the competition thus far along with Lungi Ngidi of the Titans and Shadley van Schalkwyk of the Knights. The Lions and Proteas quick has bagged eight wickets in six matches and boasts an economy of just 6.73. He will be key to his side’s chances on Wednesday. 

How well he and Bjorn Fontuin bowl at the start of the Dolphins’ innings could well set the tone for the remainder of the game. If they’re loose and allow van Wyk and Erwee to get a foothold in the game, they Lions could well be chasing leather.

Verdict: bizhub Highveld Lions 21/20
I think the fact that the Lions have enjoyed far more cricket during their campaign will stand them in good stead going into this match. There is also the fact that Hendricks and van der Dussen are in the form of their lives and have been scoring runs for fun this season and will back themselves against the Dolphins’ attack. 

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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