Imran Tahir Bowls Dolphins To Victory

Imran Tahir returned career-best figures and shared all 10 wickets with fellow spinner Keshav Maharaj, as they spun the Dolphins to a 64-run victory over the Knights on day three of their Sunfoil Series match at the Diamond Oval.  Despite earning a 49-run lead in the first innings, the Dolphins left themselves vulnerable to a second straight defeat in the competition when they were bowled out for 106, with Mbulelo Budaza taking a personal best 4/31.  The Knights needed just 156 runs to win with plenty of time to achieve it, but Tahir took 8/42 to bowl the hosts out for 92 inside 37 overs.

Tahir in fact took 11 wickets on the day, striking three times at the start as the Knights were bowled out for 257 in their first innings, having started the day on 220 for seven.  Rudi Second moved to 122 before he was dismissed by Tahir, who then quickly claimed the last two wickets to finish with 4/91.  The momentum soon changed hands as the Dolphins slumped to 62/5, with Duanne Olivier (3/31) ripping out three of the top five.

Vaughn Van Jaarsveld’s 28 at more than a run a ball would prove to be the top score for the Dolphins, as Werner Coetsee grabbed two wickets in an over and Budaza grabbed the three remaining wickets to leave first-innings centurion Daryn Smit stranded on 18 not out.  Although the seamers had done the main damage for the Knights, on a wearing surface the Dolphins fancied their spin bowlers and opened the bowling with Maharaj.  He bowled Second in his first over, and Dolphins captain Imraan Khan soon pulled Mathew Pillans from the attack to let his spin twins run riot.

Tahir did not have an immediate impact, but once he got on a run there was no stopping him.  Michael Erlank, Luthando Mnyanda and Pite Van Biljon fell in the space of four Tahir deliveries, and three further scalps followed for the leg-spinner.  In the midst of it all, Reeza Hendricks battled his way to 57 but once he was caught behind off Maharaj, the game was up.

Tahir grabbed the final two wickets to record match figures of 12/133.

Photo credit: Dinesh Debiky/Gallo Images