Cameron Delport became the first player to score a century for the Sunfoil Dolphins in 20-over cricket after his unbeaten 103 set them on their way to victory in their RAM SLAM T20 Challenge encounter against the Chevrolet Knights in Durban on Friday.
The hard-hitting opener blasted five sixes and nine fours in his 58-ball knock, sharing in half-century stands with David Miller (39 off 23) and Ravi Bopara (30) as the hosts amassed 179 for two.
Rilee Rossouw then top-scored for the visitors with 44 from 28 balls, but no one else kicked on as the Free Staters saw their three-match winning streak abruptly ended.
The Sunfoil Dolphins, who made a whopping five changes to their embattled line-up, again made a stuttering start to their innings by losing one of their openers early.
One of those new faces Divan van Wyk made just five, before he fell to a stunning Shadley van Schalkwyk catch on the deep-cover boundary – the fielder running almost 20 metres before throwing himself to his right to take the catch off Johan van der Wath.
It was 16 for one at that stage, and after a battling start by Delport and Bopara, both soon found their range.
They brought up the 50 in the eighth over, followed by the half-century stand in 39 balls.
It was 77 for one at the halfway stage as Delport raised his 50 in just 29 deliveries, the fastest of the competition to date, and the Sunfoil Dolphins were handsomely placed.
The two batsmen put on 85 together for the second wicket after which the partnership was broken when Bopara clipped Van Schalkwyk to Loots Bosman at mid-wicket.
But Miller was in next and he did well to aid Delport in keeping the heat on the visitors.
They put on 50 in 34 balls together, adding 80 overall in 7.5 overs, including 62 from the last five overs.
Delport’s ton came in 55 balls and was raised when he dabbed a single into the covers, making him only the fifth player in franchise cricket history to score a hundred.
The visitors were dealt a key blow early in their reply as Bosman was bowled by Mthokozisi Shezi for eight.
Dean Elgar (14) helped Rossouw momentarily get them back on track, before he was caught and bowled by the outstanding Yusuf Abdulla, returning to the Sunfoil Dolphins team for the first time in over two years.
The 50 came up in the ninth over as a healthy 46-run third wicket stand was going strong, but key man Rossouw skied debutant Calvin Savage (2-41) high and down the throat of Prenelan Subrayen on the deep-cover ropes.
After Pite van Biljon (27) fell to Delport, there was an 11-minute delay for a floodlight failure and once they resumed, the Knights appeared to have lost the impetus.
Obus Pienaar (32) tried desperately to lift them, but they failed to find the boundary regularly enough and the Chevrolet Knights quietly slipped to defeat.
Sunfoil Dolphins: Divan van Wyk, Cameron Delport, Ravi Bopara, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Daryn Smit (capt & wkt), David Miller, Prenelan Subrayen, Calvin Savage, Keshav Maharaj, Mthokozisi Shezi, Yusuf Abdulla.
Chevrolet Knights: Rilee Rossouw, Loots Bosman, Dean Elgar, Pite van Biljon, Obus Pienaar, Gihahn Cloete (wkt), Nicky Boje, Johan van der Wath (capt), Dillon du Preez, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Malusi Siboto.