Venue: Diamond Oval, Kimberley
Date: Friday, October 22
The Dolphins and Knights have survived the CSA T20 Cup playoffs to meet in the final on Friday at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley. It has been a whirlwind week of cricket with the tea being pared down from the eight quarter-finalists on Monday to this matchup between the Dolphins and the Knights with barely any time to rest and breathe for the two teams involved.
The Dolphins have reached this point with a couple of close victories in their playoff rounds. Their quarter-final against the Warriors saw the Warriors set a target od 128 to win after reaching 127/9 from their 20 overs. Diego Rosier hit 51 off of 41 balls for the Warriors to set up their score, but the bowling figures of 4/18 from his four overs for Daryn Dupavillion were massive as the Dolphins set themselves a score to run down. Jason Smith – 60 from 41 balls – and Keegan Peterson – 38 from 43 – both finished unbeaten as the Dolphins ran down the total to win by six wickets with four balls to spare.
Their semi-final went much the same was as the Titans won the toss and elected to set a score. Othniel Baartman – a player who has been in great form with the ball – was against key as he bowled figures of 4/18 to keep the Titans to a manageable total of 139 to win. The chase was even tighter this time as Khaya Zondo paced the batting attack as he went for 58 from 45 balls. The total was hit with just four wickets and three balls to spare as the Dolphins squeezed their way into the final.
The Knights bashed their way through their quarter-final against Western Province. Winning the toss and elected to bat to put scoreboard pressure on their opponents the Knights were slogging from the very first ball. Rilee Rossouw was imperious with the bat, smashing a quickfire and unbeaten 112 off of 56 balls as they raced out to a score of 223/3 from their 20 overs. Western Province – to give them all the credit in the world – did everything they could in reply. No bowler for the Knights had particularly good figures as Wayne Purnell smashed an unbeaten 8- from 29 balls as the run chase ramped up. WP fell just short, finishing with 219 while chasing 224 to win.
The Knights were lucky to survive the semi-final as rain stopped the game and allowed them to advance in a contest that the North West Dragons had completely bossed. Their firepower with the bat was missing as they hit just 127/7 from their 19 overs played. The Dragons – knowing that rain was in the forecast and coming out swinging – piled up a nonsensical 42 runs without loss from just 2.3 of their 19 overs. This run rate on the day would have seen them claim a victory inside 10 overs, but rain stopped play and allowed the Knights to advance because of their superior net run-rate over the course of the tournament.
The North West Dragons have given the Dolphins a blueprint to follow here. The Knights have a dominant batting lineup, but with the right level of control – and the Dolphins have the spinners to do this – that lineup can be shut down. I think that is what will happen here and I like the Dolphins to take this in an upset at 1/1 with BetXchange.