Career-best batting efforts by Keshav Maharaj and Prenelan Subrayen followed by a potent bowling display rescued the Hollywoodbets Dolphins from a dire position to beat the VKB Knights by 94 runs and with a bonus point in their Momentum One-Day Cup opener in Durban on Saturday. The two spinners shared in a 77-run eighth-wicket stand that dragged the hosts from a desperate 122 for seven to post 209 for nine after winning the toss and batting. Kerwin Mungroo (3/28) and Imran Tahir (4/33) then shared seven wickets between them as the visitors turned in an even more woeful batting display to be dismissed for a paltry 115 – their second lowest one-day score ever against last season’s runners-up. It ended a poor game on a slow track at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium, where the two teams struggled to assert themselves in their first outings of the franchise white-ball season. The Dolphins had looked decent enough early on by recovering from the early losses of Sarel Erwee (0) and Grant Roelofsen (21) to reach 91 for two in the 21st over. That was thanks to a battling partnership of 58 between Marques Ackerman (40) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (30). But some poor decisions led to both being needlessly dismissed with more average batting leading to a collapse of five wickets for 31 – pick-of-the-bowlers Shaun von Berg (2/31) at the heart of the drama.
Captain Maharaj then matched his highest List A score of 43, while Subrayen struck a franchise-high 46 not out that helped the Durbanites set 210. The Knights’ chase was even worse, beginning with the dismissal of Patrick Kruger (1) from Mungroo’s first ball. More cheap wickets followed in the form of Keegan Petersen (10), Raynard van Tonder (4), Obus Pienaar (0) and Grant Mokoena (13) as the Central Franchise slumped to 53 for five. Van Tonder and Pienaar fell to successive Tahir balls deliveries as the retired Standard Bank Proteas one-day cricketer continued to show his class. Captain Pite van Biljon (26) and Wandile Makwetu (29) did their best to stop the rot, but their resistance lasted a little over seven overs, before Mungroo ended the stand on 30. The fast bowler, along with Maharaj (2-19) and Tahir, then helped mop up the tail to seal a big win for the Dolphins.