Dolphins on top after day one
The Sunfoil Dolphins finished the first day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Nashua Titans in Durban in a commanding position at 323 for the loss of just six wickets.
The main author of this happy story for the Dolphins was Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who ended the day unbeaten on 140, while Jonathan Vandiar and Divan van Wyk also played major innings.
Titans skipper Henry Davids might feel the need to buy his weary bowlers a few cold ones after winning the toss and choosing to field first. Although there was a bit of early life, the Titans spent the whole day in the field in sweltering conditions with just a hint of a breeze towards the end of the day to cool them down.
Ethy Mbhalati, after missing a large part of the Momentum One Day Cup due to injury, returned to the team and took an early wicket by fooling Imraan Khan with an in-swinger after a few harmless balls outside off stump, the opener playing no shot.
After that Van Wyk and Vandiar put together a partnership of 90. Progress slowed towards lunch as Davids brought himself and David Wiese on, and the pair conceded just 13 runs in a combined spell of ten overs. The pressure counted, Vandiar driving loosely to be caught in the slips off Wiese shortly after completing his fifty. He did survive a chance to Farhaan Behardien in the slips on 14.
After lunch, Van Wyk and Van Jaarsveld built on the foundation superbly, adding 132 in the second session without being parted. Not that the Titans did not have opportunities, as Van Jaarsveld was dropped by Heino Kuhn on 56 and again by Behardien in the deep on 68, as well as getting away with a lofted shot dangerously close to fine leg, all of the bowling off Roelof van der Merwe in the space of ten minutes. Van Jaarsveld had blazed to his fifty off just 46 balls and dominated the partnership with Van Wyk.
The agony continued after tea before lady luck eventually smiled on the Titans. Van Jaarsveld had already gone to his eleventh First Class century when he drove a delivery from Wiese back the the bowler, who deflected the ball onto the non-striker’s wicket with Van Wyk out of his ground. He departed for 92, made off 221 balls in eleven minutes short of five hours. While Van Jaarsveld was peppering the boundary boards, Van Wyk was more prepared to work the singles, hitting just five fours in his marathon innings. The partnership added 156 in 40 overs.
The Titans bowlers toiled on in vain for the rest of the day, despite the new ball being taken after 81 overs. The scoring rate did dip a bit, Van Jaarsveld and Khaya Zondo seeing them to the close with an unbeaten partnership of 65 at a rate of 2.8 to the over.
Nevertheless, the scoring rate for the day was a healthy 3.4, much of this thanks to Van Jaarsveld. He has a handful of international caps at limited overs level, but today played a dominating First Class innings. While his innings did slow down as the end of the day beckoned, he will resume on 140, made off 180 balls at a useful strike rate and including 19 fours and a six.
The bowlers may just want to lie low tonight, even if the skipper is buying the drinks. Mbhalati and Wiese each claimed one wicket, and maintained economy rates of around 2.5 to the over, but the other bowlers will be hoping to make a fresh start. Van der Merwe will at least be thinking of what might have been if the catches had been taken.
The Dolphins, with four overs left to chase bonus points, have already earned 4.46 with the bat to the solitary point achieved thus far by the Titans.
SUNFOIL DOLPHINS: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Cody Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Daryn Smit (captain), Kyle Abbott, Calvin Savage, Mthokozisi Shezi and Craig Alexander.
NASHUA TITANS: Henry Davids (captain), Tumelo Bodibe, Pieter Malan, Heino Kuhn, Farhaan Behardien, Mangaliso Mosehle, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers, Ethy Mbhalati and Rowan Richards.