THE bizhub Highveld Lions took too long to come to terms with the pace of the Chevrolet Park pitch and saw their bid to earn a RAM SLAM T20 home final dented as a result, as they went down to the Sunfoil Dolphins by five wickets.
While only Chris Morris (37) suggested that he was in tune with a sluggish surface as the Lions posted 121 for seven in the first game of Sunday’s triple-header, David Miller found support around him as the Dolphins coasted home with five balls to spare.
The Lions collapsed to 81 for six in the 17th over of their innings after being put in to bat, with Robbie Frylinck and Dwayne Bravo (2 for 24) taking two wickets apiece and Ryan McLaren also making an impact up front on his Twenty20 debut for the Dolphins.
That left Morris’ late blitz to dig the Lions out of a horrible hole and take them to a total with a bit more respectability, as he hit three sixes and took 23 off the penultimate over.
Even on a pitch showing a bit of variable bounce the Dolphins were unlikely to struggle – particularly with Miller back in their line-up.
After Morris and Kagiso Rabada had struck in their first overs to reduce the Dolphins to 19 for two, Miller barely played a shot in anger as he stroked an unbeaten 42 from 37 deliveries.
Miller was aided by a calm 28 by Khaya Zondo as the pair added 54 for the third wicket, and also by a cameo from Bravo (19 from 12 balls) that took the required rate below a run a ball.
Miller walked away with the RAM Slammer of the Day award, while Frylinck was the Ram Deliverer as the defending champion Dolphins exited the tournament with a victory.