Belief and our will to win prevailed against Cobras, says Dolphins skipper

2013-01-24 00:00

IT was the belief that they could win that carried the Dolphins through to their narrow 15-run win against the Cobras last weekend in a Sunfoil four-day clash at Newlands.

On a Newlands pitch, which Dolphins captain Daryn Smit said “did not look that bad to the naked eye”, the Dolphins defended a target of 183 needed for victory by the Cobras, bowling them out for 167 with a day to spare.

Smit acknowledged it was the team’s belief that a target between 180 to 200 would be defendable, and for once the team stuck to the cause, with bowlers and fielders believing a win was possible.

Said Smit: “It looked as though we would come up short again and the usual tale of woe of the Dolphins failing to assert their authority on a match would repeat itself.

“Although the Cobras only had a 32-run lead on the first innings, we were minus 10 for four batting second and really in the mire.

“Thankfully Jonathan Vandiar [78] and useful middle- to lower-order contributions kept us on an even keel.

“The ball was moving sideways off the pitch when pitched up and surprisingly there was not much movement through the air. But if bowlers got the ball in the right area, the wicket provided assistance and questions were asked of the batsmen.”

Leading the charge was paceman Kyle Abbott, whose 8-45 kept the Cobras on the back foot and ultimately secured the win.

“He was brilliant and inspired the rest of the team to believe we could win. Take nothing away from the other bowlers,” added Smit.

“They kept it tight and stuck to the game plan magnificently. We knew we had to strike early with the new ball and at regular intervals, not letting batsmen settle, as the older the ball became, the easier it was to bat.

“We went out to defend our lead knowing we had a sniff and the whole team personified that belief on the field with committed, outstanding fielding and catching. This time we wanted to win and our spirit showed what we are capable of.”

Although the win still kept the Dolphins in fifth spot on the log, it has made them competitive and given them the confidence that another win could see them leapfrog into third place.

“While the Cobras and Warriors are slightly out of touch for us, a win against the Warriors at Kingsmead next week could have us right in the mix and give us massive confidence going into our final four-day clash against the Titans at Centurion.

“There’s still much to play for and this type of result [as achieved against the Cobras] instils in us the belief that we can win.

“It provides the perfect platform to build on for next season where we hope to assert our authority in all forms of the game,” said the captain.

Speaking of team-mate David Miller — who has gone from playing in the KwaZulu-Natal amateur side, after being dropped for the Cobras game, to getting a recall for the Proteas one-day squad — Smit said there was no doubt Miller was a great limited-overs exponent, but his record in the longer form of the game needed some work.

“He was dropped purely on the basis of his form in the four-day format.

“His stats, by his own admission, are way short of his capabilities and we felt some time in the middle for the amateur side would allow time for him to work on his game and give him the opportunity to learn more about the longer version,” he said.

“Scoring an undefeated 82 in the second innings and spending nearly four hours at the wicket was priceless and no doubt he will soon be back in the senior squad where he belongs.”

The Dolphins meet the Warriors at Kingsmead from January 31 to February 3.

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