Dolphins rocked by Boland’s Jonker, Warriors see off Dragons

Christiaan Jonker struck two fours and three sixes in his 26-ball innings of 40 for Boland Rocks against the Dolphins yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Christiaan Jonker struck two fours and three sixes in his 26-ball innings of 40 for Boland Rocks against the Dolphins yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 24, 2024


Boland Rocks coach Justin Ontong breathed a major sigh of relief when his team finally managed to break their Cricket SA T20 Challenge duck at St George’s Park in Gqeberha yesterday.

It has been a baptism of fire for Ontong in his first season as head coach of the Rocks.

The Boland team struggled in both the CSA 1-Day and 4-Day competitions, and were winless after five matches in the shortest format.

With the equally helpless Tuskers winning their first game on Saturday evening when they surprised the high-flying Lions at the Wanderers, all the pressure was on the Rocks to get off the bottom of the table against the Dolphins yesterday.

They found their inspiration in the form of veterans Christiaan Jonker and Shaun von Berg, who took the Cape Winelands team home by four wickets with an unbroken partnership of 64 in 33 balls, after the Dolphins had set them a target of 159.

Jonker (40 not out) struck two fours and three sixes in his 26-ball innings, while Von Berg, who recently made his Proteas Test debut in New Zealand, hit 26 off 16 balls.

The Dolphins severely missed the tactical acumen of their regular leaders Keshav Maharaj and Prenelan Subrayen, particularly during the death overs.

Maharaj is away at the Indian Premier League, where he is part of the Lucknow Super Giants enlarged squad, while Subrayen was missing through injury.

Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo was at the helm, but could not find a way to stop the Rocks from crossing the line with just three balls remaining.

The Rocks’ chase had begun in the customary slippery fashion, with Dolphins seamer Daryn Dupavillon striking a double blow in his first over when he removed Keegan Petersen and Clyde Fortuin.

Petersen was unfortunate to chop on to his stumps, while Fortuin chipped tamely to mid-on.

However, the Dolphins’ pace bowlers were too inconsistent with their line and lengths in the PowerPlay after the early wickets, which allowed Aviwe Mgijima to ignite the run chase with a breezy 26 off 17 balls.

The momentum was maintained by all-rounder Ferisco Adams, who struck 33 off 23 balls after Michael Copeland was run out cheaply.

At the interval, however, the Dolphins would have felt that they had posted a par total on a sluggish St George’s Park pitch.

After losing Grant Roelofsen early on in the PowerPlay, the in-form Bryce Parsons and Jon-Jon Smuts took the attack to the Rocks with a rapid 40-run partnership for the second wicket.

But after Smuts (21 off 20 balls) and Parsons (31 off 25 balls) both gave their wickets away by being caught in the deep, it was left to Marques Ackerman to keep the innings afloat.

The left-hander performed the role superbly with a brisk undefeated half-century off just 32 balls.

Ackerman entertained the sparse crowd with his full array of unorthodox ramps and reverse sweeps.

He had good support from Khaya Zondo, who also managed 35 off just 26 balls before Jason Smith closed off the innings with 14 not out.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, it was not enough on the day as the Rocks’ shock victory has now thrown the T20 Challenge table wide open again as the teams battle it out for the play-off spots.

Meanwhile, in yesterday’s second match in Gqeberha, the Warriors beat the North West Dragons by 24 runs.

The Warriors batted first and scored 186-5, with Sinethemba Qeshile slamming 51 not out off 30 balls and Patrick Kruger not far behind with 46 off 21.

The Dragons could only get to 162-9 in their 20 overs, with Lesiba Ngoepe top-scoring with a knock of 45 off 25 balls that included two fours and four sixes, while Raynard van Tonder reached 34 off 32 balls.