Paul Adams’ team are still alive in the competition as a result at Kingsmead as they moved up to 12 points in seven matches with three more to play.
The Cobras have battled to get going with bat in hand for most of the season, and two rained-out games haven’t helped their cause either.
But for once the wet weather stayed away on Sunday, and even though the Dolphins posted a tough 178/5 off their 20 overs, the Cape side paced their innings superbly with a record Kingsmead chase to finish on 181/3 in 18.4 overs.
After a quiet start and just 15 runs off the first two overs, the Cobras ramped up the intensity by gathering 16 off the third despite losing Wayne Parnell for 16. Justin Ontong struggled to get the ball off the square in his knock of 15, but Levi kept the boundaries coming at the other end.
The Cobras still had a required run-rate of around 10 at 93/2 off 11 overs, and the turning point came in the 12th that was bowled by spinner Prenelan Subrayen. Both Levi and Vilas got stuck into the youngster, hitting two sixes and a four as 19 came off the six balls.
That provided the necessary impetus in a 50-run stand, and when Levi held out at midwicket off Imran Tahir for a solid 54 off 31 balls (8x4, 1x6), the urgency was maintained by the efficient Vilas and captain Kieron Pollard, who pushed the singles and twos along with the odd boundary.
Thirteen runs came off Cameron Delport’s third over, the 14th of the innings, and that arguable ended the game as a contest as the Cobras needed only 44 off 36 balls, with the Dolphins failing to make any further breakthroughs.
Pollard (31 not out off 21) smashed Delport for six over long-on to end the game and underline the Cobras’ dominance, the fourth-wicket partnership with Vilas (54 not out off 34) producing an unbeaten 64 off 41 balls.
Earlier, former England captain Pietersen showed off all his shots in an entertaining 79 off 51 balls (3x4, 5x6) to propel the home side to 178/5. The 36-year-old dispatched the ball out of the ground a couple of times over square leg, but it wasn’t just all about power as the Pietermaritzburg-born right-hander manoeuvred the ball around the ground with aplomb.
Pietersen had good support from captain and opener Morné van Wyk (44 off 36 balls, 7x4), while Khaya Zondo played some delightful strokes in his 40 not out off 28 deliveries (2x4, 2x6).
Rory Kleinveldt claimed 3/31 in three overs.
Dolphins coach Grant Morgan would’ve been confident that the 178 on the board would’ve been enough, especially with an array of excellent bowling options such as Proteas spinners Imran Tahir and Keshav Maharaj.
Now the Cobras will have renewed confidence heading into Wednesday’s clash against the Knights at Newlands (6pm start).
Original source: Cobras pull off record chase in Durban