Of two matches played in Bangalore on Saturday, Dolphins’ Robbie Frylinck stole the limelight in the first but his heroics went in vain as Lahore Lions wove a magical web of spin bowling that found the Dolphins’ batsmen floundering. Frylinck played a stellar role by first derailing Lahore batsmen by claiming 3/22 and then, when Dolphins batted, he was the last man standing. However, he missed the most precious gift on his 30th birthday, running out of partners in the end. The result also dashed Dolphins’ hopes for the entry to the knock-out phase. In the other match, Chennai Super Kings found the going tough to begin with but they were rescued by Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni later in the innings to beat Perth Scorchers.
In the first match, Mohammad Hafeez won the toss for Lahore Lions and chose to bat first. But Robbie Frylinck’s devastating spell supported by other Dolphins bowlers saw the Lahorians tottering at 34/4 in the 8th over. Frylinck took two wickets in his first two overs and yielded just 6 runs. Kyle Abbott took the third wicket and Delport took another. But even as the things looked bleak for Lahore, they found a savior in Umar Akmal, who walked in at the fall of Mohammad Hafeez. Akmal and Saad Nasim took charge of the Lahore Lions’ batting and added 92 for fifth wicket in less than 9 overs. Though Nasim fell in 17th over as another of Frylinck’s wicket, Akmal found an able company in Asif Raza. The two batsmen remained unbeaten till the end and blasted their way to finish the innings at 164/5.
The target of 165 is not considered unattainable in T20 these days but the team has to begin well. Dolphins had their skipper Morne van Wyk as one of the openers. But what can a lone hand do? Hafeez knew what he needed to do against Dolphins as he mostly used his spinners including himself. He opened the bowling himself and removed Dolphins’ other opener, Cameron Delport for a duck. Hafeez produced a beautiful delivery that straightened and hit Delport’s middle stump. Cody Chetty was next to fall and Keshav Maharaj was the third for another duck of the innings, even as van Wyk kept finding the gaps to push the scoring. But when van Wyk fell in the ninth over for 36 off 29 balls, the writing on the wall was clear for Dolphins. The only other batsman, who got amongst the runs was Jonathan Vandiar but he also got out to leave his team reeling at 74/5 in the 12th over. There was further misery for Dolphins as VB van Jaarsveld departed in the 13th over, Khaya Zondo in 14th, Andile Phehlukwayo in 15th and the 9th wicket fell in the 16th over with Kyle Abbott’s run out. Victory looked impossible for Dolphins as their score read 93/9 with Robbie Frylinck not out on 12. With 75 needed in 24 balls, Frylinck broke loose to rouse the Lahorians out of their reverie. In one of the most stunning display of power hitting Frylinck single-handed took 15 runs off the 17th over, 26 off the 18th and 4 off the 19th. In the last over, 26 were needed for victory but after hitting a six, he needed another four sixes off the last four balls to take the game to the super over. That was too much for one man as Lahore Lions finished victors by 16 runs but not before Frylinck blasted 63 off 27 balls with 4 fours and 6 sixes.
In the second match, Perth Scorchers won the toss and asked CSK to bat first. It looked a good decision as CSK lost 4 wickets by the 12th over and their score had only reached 56. They lost McCullum and Raina in the third over, Dwayne Smith in the sixth and Minhas in the 12th. There was further trouble for CSK as Bravo also left in the 15th over to leave CSK at 79/5. But Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni played with style to steer CSK out of trouble. The two batsmen added 63 runs in 5 overs and carried the final score to 155/6.
For Scorchers, it was just a matter of keeping their heads above their shoulders and go about reaching a relatively easy target. But after what looked like a good beginning, they lost Craig Simmons in the third over and Ashton Agar in the fourth. But Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh batted catiously until the 10th over, before Marsh fell. The slowdown got reflected in the asking rate mounting to over 10 runs an over. Scorchers lost two more wickets as Sam Whiteman fell in the 12th over and Voges in the 13th. But Ashton Turner and Nathan Coulter-Nile revived Scorchers’ chase with a 50-run partnership for the 6th wicket, before Turner lost his wicket in the 18th over, at the end of which Scorchers needed 33 in 12 balls. The fall of Coulter-Nile in the 19th over signaled the end of Scorchers’ challenge in the Champions’ League as CSK wrapped up the match by 13 runs.