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We are almost midway through the first half of the Momentum One Day Cup and things are getting more and more exciting with every passing game. Dolphins and Warriors have been in fantastic form in the tournament thus far, but one of them will have to end up as the second-best when the two teams lock horns on 26th February at Durban. The top of the table clashes always have something for the fans and teams to fight for and it is no different this time around as well. The result of this game will govern who stays at the summit of the ladder and with competition getting stiffer, both the sides would want to register a win here and rise to the top of the table.
Dolphins have clearly been the better of the two sides so far in the tournament. They've played three matches and are yet to see the face of a defeat. Despite any major individual contribution with the bat, it's surprising to see the dominance asserted by the Dolphins thus far which speaks volumes about their team effort.
van Jaarsveld has been in superb form for them, but it's not just Jaarsveld who has contributed for them. Dane Vilas, Andile Phehlukwayo, and Khaya Zondo have done brilliantly with each of those having played a vital role at least once in the competition.
It was a terrific effort from their middle-order batting and then by their bowlers as they defeated Cape Cobras in their last encounter. Despite a rare top-order failure, it was commendable to see Khaya Zondo and Andile Phehlikwayo stitch together a match-defining partnership of 103 which lifted Dolphins from 71 for 4 to 174 for 5. Zondo was the last man to be dismissed after playing a vital hand of 93 as Dolphins finally finished with 276 runs on the board.
More than their batting, it's been their bowling which has pushed them into winning positions. It was the same against Cobras as well where Imran Tahir picked up two important wickets and was well supported by Shezi. However, the knockout punch was delivered by Andile Phehlukwayo as he not only dismissed well set Linde but also backed it up with two quick wickets to wrap Cobras' innings as they fell short of the target by 23 runs.
VBV Jaarsveld, Sarel Erwee, DJ Vilas, David Miller, Khaya Zondo, Andile Phehlukwayo, Senuran Muthusamy, Calvin Savage, P Subrayen, Mthokozisi Shezi, Imran Tahir.
Just as the Dolphins, Warriors, too, are yet to face a defeat in the tournament, but they've been part of only two completed games as their game against Lions was cut short due to rain which eventually was called-off with Warriors struggling at 74 for 3.
Prior to that, they did exceedingly well in the defense of 195-run total as they edged past Knights by a narrow margin of 11 runs. Batting first on a ground affected by rain, Warriors' batsmen failed to up the scoring rate and all their top-four batsmen perished after getting starts. Breetzke, who scored 39 off 60 deliveries, happened to be their top-scorer as they all folded for a cumulative score of 195.
Even though it was tough to score quickly on that surface, it wasn't a winning total by any means. However, their bowlers not only made a match out of it but handed Knights yet another defeat. Birch, who also contributed with a vital 38-run knock down the order, was the pick of the bowlers and set the tone for rest of them to follow. He picked up three wickets for 28 in 10 overs and was ably assisted by JJ Smuts and Nortje. Smuts and Nortje contributed with two wickets apiece and gave away 22 and 36 runs respectively. The Warriors eventually won the match by 11 runs.
Matthew Breetzke, Gihahn Cloete, JJT Smuts, Onke Nyaku, Lesiba Ngoepe, Colin Ackermann, Sinethemba Qeshile, SSB Magala, Andrew Birch, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla.
Going by the results, the Dolphins clearly have been the team to beat in the tournament. Having said that, they've shown a fair share of vulnerabilities, at least with the bat. The Warriors, too, appear to be a little too over-dependent on their top-order to do the bulk of the damage. Their bowlers did well to defend a low total against Knights, but that is not going to be the case every day. The Dolphins, unlike the Warriors, bat deep and with their bowlers in prime form, they are likely to win the upcoming match and maintain their supremacy in the tournament.
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