Bopara brings warmth to dressing room, fire to the pitch

2010-11-23 00:00

FAR from playing solely for a spot in the English ODI squad for the new year, Ravi Bopara has been a breath of fresh air at Kingsmead.

So refreshing in fact, that Dolphins coach Graham Ford likened his influence to the late, great Malcolm Marshall.

“He is such a warm, likeable fellow,” Ford revealed.

“He is the type of personality that brings warmth to the dressing-room, and we couldn’t be more delighted with his contribution.”

Of course, Bopara’s influence has not been confined to the quaint corners of the Dolphins locker-room, as he has contributed with bat and ball to their march to the semi-finals of the MTN40 Championship. His 60 runs, followed by a four-wicket haul, played no small part in the win over the Knights, and he looks in excellent touch.

The Dolphins were rewarded for their strong showing in the latter stages of the MTN40, and they will now avoid the red-hot Titans in the semi-finals.

Ford didn’t admit to it, but the Titans present a formidable unit at the moment, and that is before they welcome back their bunch of Proteas.

Even without them, the Titans have displayed some searing potential of late, with Faf du Plessis spanking back-to-back centuries.

Ford, of course, was not about to belittle the credentials of the Knights, though.

“I don’t really think it matters who we play at this stage, because the Knights have real match-winners, and they will be keen to reverse last week’s result.”

Indeed, the Knights capitulated at such a startling pace that it may well have raised eyebrows had it occurred at the increasingly twitchy international level.

The last eight wickets fell for just 35 runs, and handed the Dolphins a surprisingly swift 67-run win.

The Dolphins will get Hashim Amla back for the final part of the MTN40, though they do have some injury concerns.

Amla’s older brother, Ahmed, has a groin strain, while Loots Bosman will be a spectator.

The squad for Sunday will be named later this week and leave for Bloemfontein on Friday.

MTN40 SEMI-FNALS (home sides first)

Fri Nov 26 - Titans v Lions

Sun Nov 28 - Knights v Dolphins

Wed Dec 1 - Lions v Titans

Fri Dec 3 - Dolphins v Knights

Third legs - if required

Sat Dec 4 - Titans v Lions

Sun Dec 5 - Dolphins v Knights

FINAL: Fri December 10.

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