THERE was a clatter of wickets on the third day of the Sunfoil series match between the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Sunfoil Dolphins at a chilly Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
The match was intriguing poised with the Dolphins needing 92 runs for victory and the Lions six wickets in what has been a relatively low-scoring affair.
The Lions started the day with an overall lead of 83 for the loss of one wicket, having clawed their way back into the match after a dismal first day. But they soon found themselves on the back foot again, with four wickets falling in the morning session, and five after lunch. Opener Stephen Cook shared a 51-run partnership with Zander de Bruyn, and a 65-run partnership with Neil McKenzie, before McKenzie was out lbw to Robbie Frylinck for 41. But the rest of the Lions’ wickets went cheaply, with the last four falling for just 40 runs.
However, the last man, Pumi Matshikwe, hung around for 45 minutes – long enough for Cook to take his score from 66 to 92.
Craig Alexander was the wrecker-in-chief, taking the wickets of Temba Bavuma, Chris Morris, Thami Tsolekile and Hardus Viljoen for 71 runs, while Dane Paterson weighed in with three for 51. Robbie Frylinck took two for 49, and Imraan Khan brought the Lions innings to a close when Cook tried to slog-sweep him to mid-wicket, but was caught on the boundary by David Miller.
The Lions were all out for 238, setting the Dolphins the task of scoring 241 for victory.
The Dolphins got off to the worst possible start when Morris bowled Divan van Wyk around his legs for nought in the first over.
But Khan and Jonathan Vandiar knuckled down with a partnership of 95 before Vandiar edged Morris to stand-in wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock for 62. Morris struck again in the same over, when Vaughn van Jaarsveld gloved the ball to the gully, where Bavuma took a superb diving catch to dismiss him for nought.
Khan managed to garner 32 runs before he was bowled by Morris.
When bad light stopped play, the Dolphins had 149 for four, still needing 92 to win.