A century by Vaughn van Jaarsveld trumped the best core of the match, 130, by Reeza Hendricks as the Dolphins made a strong start to their Momentum One-Day Cup title defence with a 19-run victory over the Highveld Lions in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, the hosts amassed 342 for six in a high-scoring opening match of the campaign for both sides, with the visitors restricted to 323 for nine in reply at the City Oval.
Left-hander Van Jaarsveld led the way with a career-best ninth 50-over ton after he plundered 124 off 102 balls (14 fours, 2 sixes), while there were also half-centuries by Dane Vilas and David Miller.
The Lions had a good go at the chase thanks to Hendricks’ 130 off 117 balls (12 fours, 1 six) – his 12th career ton – and a 51 off 57 (4 fours) from captain Rassie van der Dussen.
But it was not enough as the Dolphins held out for a solid start to a competition they shared with the Warriors last season.
They were up against the form team in the country on Saturday, but the Johannesburg-based side, may have been thinking twice after opting to bowl first as the home side recorded the third-highest score in their history.
It was not the best start, though, after Morne van Wyk fell from the third ball of the match for a duck, but Van Jaarsveld and Vilas, who made 81 off 94 balls (7 fours), put on 204 for the second wicket to set them on their way.
After both fell in quick succession, Miller blasted 74 off 55 balls (2 fours, 4 sixes) to help set 343.
Wiaan Mulder was the pick of the bowlers with two for 52.
The in-form Hendricks then led from the front for the Lions as they progressed well to 193 for two in 33 overs.
But things then went wrong as Imran Tahir (3/71), Prenelan Subrayen (2/36) and Robbie Frylinck (2/53) began to chip away.
And despite 28 apiece from Mulder and Bjorn Fortuin as well as 23 from Nono Pongolo, the scoreboard pressure proved too much as the Lions fell short.