The Highveld Lions pacemen, Kagiso Rabada and Hardus Viljoen, shared seven wickets to blunt the effect of Cody Chetty’s century for the Dolphins on an eventful first day of Sunfoil Series action in Johannesburg. The day had the unusual occurrence of a batsman getting out handled the ball, took in a couple of partnerships that hauled the Dolphins back into the game and also saw the visitors suffer the setback of losing a batsman in full flow when Daryn Smit retired hurt on 60. The effect of that injury was clear in the final hour when Chetty’s dismissal sparked a horrendous collapse in which the Dolphins lost five wickets for 22 runs to close on 289/8.
Rabada made his presence felt at both ends of the day, starting in the 12th over when he dismissed Divan Van Wyk and Daniel Sincuba in the space of five balls. Ten overs later Imraan Khan handled the ball whilst facing Pumelela Matshikwe to leave the Dolphins 53/3 after they had elected to bat first, but two partnerships put them well on top. First Chetty put on 107 with Smit before the latter was unable to continue, and then he added 97 with Morne Van Wyk as the Dolphins reached 257/3.
However, Viljoen (3/48) and Rabada (4/65) made the second new ball count, with Rabada bowling Chetty for 106 off the last ball of one over and Viljoen trapping Van Wyk lbw for 44 off the first ball of the next over. The floodgates opened thereafter as the pair ran through the lower order, leaving Tshepo Moreki and Daryn Dupavillon to scrap for the Dolphins’ survival.