Dolphins finish off in fine style

2008-09-25 00:00

THERE were few surprises at the Maritzburg Oval yesterday as the Dolphins line-up duly made their way to a six-wicket win over an Inland/Coastal combination on the last day of the three-day contest.

Set a target of 149 for victory in the second innings, the Dolphins reached their goal with minimum fuss — the advent of David Miller at number six in the order speeding things along considerably. Yes, the contest had lost its edge by then, but that had nothing to do with Miller and he motored to 23 not out with two fours and a massive straight-driven six off the spin of Clint Bowyer. Miller, who was the recipient of a Dolphins rookie contract, has just turned 19 and is looking in tremendous nick at this early stage of the season.

Resuming with the total on an unsteady 10 for one, the Dolphins initially laboured towards the modest target. Dolphins opener Rivash Gobind, who was fortunate to escape a pair when Inland/Coastal skipper Ross McMillan dropped a regulation catch at first slip off impressive fast bowler Olly Humphries in the late afternoon on Wednesday, ground his way to 38 in 168 minutes off 110 balls.

Gobind, a specialist opening batsman, was signed up to replace long-serving Dolphin Doug Watson (35) who enjoyed a distinguished career over 15 seasons for the province and franchise.

Had McMillan pouched the catch, the sharp-looking Humphries would have dismissed the left-hander in the first over of each innings, giving the paceman an enviable three first-over scalps over the two innings, after he had trapped Gobind in front for nothing late on Tuesday afternoon and then bowled Grant Rowley.

Walking to the crease with nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj yesterday morning, the diminutive, 26-year-old Gobind was still on a pair, but he survived the ordeal and eventually managed seven fours in his knock.

Granted, this was a “practice” match, but too often Gobind hit a reasonable shot only for the ball to go straight to a fielder. His apparent inability to pierce the field did not help things along and momentum was lost. It is unfair to make too many assumptions at this very early stage — and good luck to him — but one can be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be a long, hard summer for a man who battles to impose his presence on bowlers.

Whatever the case, the Dolphins’ loss has resulted in a massive gain for KZN Inland, as it is immediately obvious that Watson — a man with huge experience and an enviable work ethic — has energised the local squad in his new role as player/coach.

All things considered, this season is shaping up as one of the most interesting yet from a KZN perspective as the Dolphins professional squad plus the Coastal and Inland amateur sides are offering much to enthuse over.

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