Dolphins eager to get time in the middle

2013-12-19 00:00

IF the Dolphins were playing in Durban this week, it would be another frustrating four days waiting for the rain to clear.

As it is, they meet the Lions at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, today in a Sunfoil Series four-day clash where the Dolphins are keen to just get on the park.

Their bowlers need a run, having bowled in the opening match against the Cobras three weeks ago and seen rain hamper the subsequent matches against the Knights and Titans, while the batsmen need to spend time at the crease and build a competitive score.

In all, the Dolphins have played 102 overs of four-day cricket this season from three matches and through no fault of their own, find themselves propping up the log.

They welcome back David Miller to bolster the middle order after his duties for the Proteas in the ODI series against India.

He finished off the series in style with an undefeated 56 in the final match, making good use of some extended time at the crease.

The Dolphins are hoping he can carry this form into the longer version of the game, a format he needs to work on to bolster his all-round game.

“I’ve worked hard on my game and realise my performances and stats in the four-day game need some improving,” he said.

“If the weather allows, I look forward to some time in the middle in the next few days, furthering the cause for the Dolphins.”

A surprise omission from the squad is Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who has been a regular in the number four slot since joining the Dolphins from the Lions four seasons back.

To date, he has batted in three innings for 39 runs and an average of 13. All his runs came in one innings, against the Cobras when the Dolphins totalled a mere 88 in their first innings.

“I was called on Tuesday and told I was not in the squad as I was being rested for the Twenty20 domestic competition which starts against the Cobras in Cape Town on January 5,” he said.

“I was told to have a break and be fresh for the competition. I was not informed I had been dropped and am therefore not too fussed.”

Van Jaarsveld said while he would have liked to play, there were players in the squad who had also not performed well but were still getting a run.

Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk was looking forward to some game time and said his team needed to focus on what they did well and get into the right frame of mind after their up and down start to the campaign.

“While we haven’t been on the park playing, we have been working hard behind the scenes, ensuring we all stay in tune with the format of the game and what we need to do,” he said.

“It’s another game, another start and we need to make sure we do the basics right and make a game of it.

“Vaughn will be back. He is a class player and is still a big part of our plans for the season. Such is the dynamics of cricket but he is still a senior member of the team.”

The Lions are second in the standings behind the Cobras, having won, lost and drawn a game. They have the return of Quinton de Kock up their sleeve after his unbelievable performances for the Protea ODI team where he scored three consecutive centuries against India.

With Thami Tsolekile released from the Protea Test squad, De Kock will in all likelihood not take the gloves and could open the batting.

Lions skipper Stephen Cook is relishing having De Kock in the team and knows a big performance from him could turn the game in his team’s favour.

“He brings flair and exuberance to our batting and with talk of him stepping up to the Test squad, there is no lack of motivation for him to perform in the long version of the domestic game, against the red ball,”said Cook.

“He has scored runs here [at Potch] previously and registered a massive 190 against the Cobras last season. Another big hundred from him will definitely help our cause in the game.”

DOLPHINS SQUAD

Imraan Khan, David Miller, Khaya Zondo, Mthokozisi Shezi, Keshav Maharaj, Cody Chetty, Graham Onions, Daryn Smit, Craig Alexander, Kyle Abbott, Divan van Wyk and Morné van Wyk (capt).

Dolphins v Lions

Played 18

Lions Win 6

Dolphins Win 3

Drawn 9

Lions highest score 553-8

Dolphins highest score 567-9

Lions lowest score 140

Dolphins lowest score 147

Lions highest individual score 186 Alviro Petersen

Dolphins highest individual score 208 Hashim Amla

Lions best bowling (match) 12-101 Chris Morris

Dolphins best bowling (match) 7-45 Mthokozisi Shezi.

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