Majestic Maharaj Makes Mayhem Against Cobras

Keshav Maharaj achieved what few other spinners have done on the opening day in the history of first-class cricket at Newlands when he took a career-best 6/58 in the Sunfoil Series match against the Cape Cobras.  His performance played a large part in enabling the Dolphins to finish the day with an overall lead of two runs and eight first innings wickets still in the bank.  Maharaj produced the pivotal moment of the day’s play when he dismissed Andrew Puttick with his first delivery that kicked sharply from outside the left-hander’s leg-stump to hit the top of off.

As well as the left-arm spinner bowled, he would surely be the first to acknowledge the support he received from the Dolphins’ two new ball bowlers, Daryn Dupavillon and Matthew Pillans.  The two bowled fast and straight and were always in the faces of the Nashua Cape Cobras’ batsmen.  Pillans, a 23-year-old, is certainly one to add to the impressive list of emerging young fast bowling talents.

He is tall, strong and bowls at impressive pace with awkward bounce to go with it.  This is only his fourth Franchise four-day match and he has already taken 18 wickets in little more than 100 overs with an economy rate of 3.3.  There was a bit of moisture in the pitch during the morning session which helped all the bowlers to some extent but not enough to justify the Cobras first innings total of 156.

It could have been a lot worse as their top-scorer, Omphile Ramela (48 off 101 balls, 6 fours) was missed in the slips before he had scored while Puttick gave a difficult chance to midwicket on 7.  The Cobras were 5 down for 96 by lunch after winning the toss and lost their remaining 5 wickets for an additional 60 runs in 15 overs after lunch.  To have any chance to get back into the match they too had to strike quickly but it was not to be as Divan Van Wyk and Imraan Khan added 66 in the remaining 15 overs before the tea interval.

Dane Paterson twice had the anguish of being nicked through the slips but that was as close as it got for the Cobras attack.  The opening pair went on to make their stand worth exactly 100 in 25 overs before Rory Kleinveldt dismissed Khan and Mthokozisi Shezi then got rid of Van Wyk but not before the second best stand of the day of 40 for the second wicket.  The Dolphins are now in a position to bat the Cobras out of the game.

Victory here will lift them to second place on the log and within striking distance of the pace-setting Lions.

Photo credit: Dinesh Debiky / Gallo Images