Port Elizabeth – Lundi Mbane bowled one of the great spells in RAM SLAM T20 history as he took 4-10 in his final two overs to earn the Warriors a tie against the Dolphins at St Georgeâ€™s on Friday.
The Dolphins went into the last three overs needing just 20 runs to overhaul the Warriorsâ€™ total of 152/7, with key batsmen Vaughn van Jaarsveld and David Miller at the crease.
Even after Mbane had dismissed Van Jaarsveld in the 18th over, the odds were stacked against him as he began the final over with the Dolphins needing six to win.
However, Miller was caught on the long-off boundary off the first ball and Daryn Smit was bowled by the second. Although Kyle Abbott hit the third for four, he was then involved in a mix-up which saw Robbie Frylinck run out.
Abbott managed a single from the penultimate delivery to tie the scores, but Mbane held his nerve to induce a top-edge from Keshav Maharaj which was caught by Rusty Theron to leave the Dolphins on 152/9 at the end of the game.
The importance of Mbaneâ€™s heroics also had a wider context. The Warriors were on the brink of losing a third straight game, which would have left them four points adrift of the top three having played a game more.
Instead they have 10 points – the same as the Dolphins – and trail the second-placed Titans by just two points.
The Dolphins will surely be kicking themselves – although they allowed the Warriors to get off to a brisk start through Ashwell Prince (40 off 30 balls), they had done well to rein the home side in with Khaya Zondo (1-17) particularly tight.
Morne van Wyk then got the chase off to the perfect start by hitting 45 from 27 balls, and with Cody Chetty contributing 39 the visitors were cruising at 115/2 in the 15th over.
How they blew it will be a source of frustration for coach Lance Klusener, while the Warriors will simply be grateful to Mbane.
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