Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dolphins & Titans game ends in no result despite mind-numbing assault by Sanath Jayasuriya

The MTN Domestic Championship match between the Nashua Dolphins and the Easterns Titans finished in no result, despite a mind-numbing assault by Sanath Jayasuriya, due to rain at Kingsmead on Friday.

The Dolphins were chasing a Duckworth/Lewis revised target of 172 in 33 overs and had reached 97 for four in the 17th over when rain returned for the third time in the match.

Jayasuriya had been impossible to bowl at in the early stages of his innings as he slammed 58 off 36 balls, but Roelof van der Merwe dismissed him in his first over, and the left-arm spinner and captain Pierre Joubert managed to lower the Dolphins run-rate from more than nine an over to 5.93 at the interruption.

Kingsmead has not been a happy hunting ground for the left-hander in the past, but on Friday night it was his lair as he tore into the bowling with tigerish ferocity. Jayasuriya lashed nine fours and two sixes and certainly put a smile back on the dials of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union administrators who signed him.

But as he has so frequently done in the past, it was Van der Merwe (3.2-2-2-1) who turned the tide the Titans' way when he bowled Jayasuriya five dot balls in his first over and then clung on to a fierce drive off the last delivery.

And with Joubert (5-0-21-2) darting the ball both ways off the pitch at the other end, the Dolphins batsmen did not know whether to continue in Jayasuriya's attacking vein or rebuild.

Joubert accounted for both Ahmed Amla, brilliantly caught off a slower ball by Blake Snijman for 10, and HD Ackerman, trapped leg-before for two.

The Titans had also struggled against an impressive spell of spin bowling by Jayasuriya to score just 153 for five in their 33 overs.

The Titans, who were sent in to bat, suffered two rain breaks during their innings and were never able to score at any great speed.

The umpires first called the players off the field after 27 overs with the Titans on 114 for five. They returned for 10 minutes and 3.2 overs before another rain delay further reduced the match from 43 to 33 overs a side.

Faf du Plessis had looked well set in compiling 27 not out before the 78-minute second rain delay meant the Titans returned with just 16 deliveries left in their innings.

Du Plessis added 20 more runs to his tally in the limited time available to him to ensure the Dolphins would still need to chase a challenging Duckworth/Lewis revised target.

Jayasuriya took two for 26 in eight overs and his team-mates were hoping the Kingsmead crowd would finally see some fireworks from the Sri Lankan great's bat as well.

Before the rain delays, youngsters Van der Merwe and Pieter Malan had shared a third-wicket stand of 42 off 46 balls, but both would sell their wickets too cheaply when well set.

Titans openers Gulam Bodi and Snijman took a while to get into gear against fiery new-ball bowling from Quinton Friend and Yusuf Abdullah.

Bodi, stumbling and falling in going for a single, was run out for 13 and Snijman (12) then edged Ugasen Govender to gully.

Van der Merwe gave the Dolphins a scare when he drove fast bowler Govender straight back over his head for six, but the wily Jayasuriya killed off a promising innings of 30 off 32 balls when he bowled the batsman, Van der Merwe backing away and trying to cut a faster delivery.

Jon Kent picked up the wicket of Malan for 34, the batsman hooking straight to deep square-leg and leaving the field obviously frustrated at not having made better use of a start.

Farhaan Behardien (0) was then totally deceived by the flight of a Jayasuriya delivery and went back to a quicker ball that comprehensively bowled him, the wicket being greeted by the first onset of the rain.

--> Full Scorecard

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