Dolphins must go for the jugular

2013-02-27 00:00

TODAY’S Ram Slam T20 Challenge showdown between the Dolphins and the Knights in Bloemfontein may be a bottom of the table clash, but it is of vital importance to both sides.

While the Knights have lost their first two matches — to the Cobras by 25 runs and the Warriors by eight wickets (D/L method) — the Dolphins have hardly fared better.

If it wasn’t for rain washing out their opening encounter at Kingsmead against the Titans — where they at least got two points — they would also be licking their wounds with nothing to show after three matches.

On both occasions, the Dolphins’ top order batting has let them down. In their second match against the log-leading Lions in Durban last week, a total of 130 for victory proved beyond them as the frontline batsmen could only muster a below average 37-3 at the halfway mark.

Similarly, against the Cobras on Sunday they had to recover from the same score and a final total of 134 was never enough.

Coach Lance Klusener has remained optimistic though, saying: “Losing two games on the trot is not ideal and puts us under a bit of pressure.

“It makes today’s match crucial if we are to make any headway in the competition.

“It is relatively early in the competition and we need to get back on the horse and start winning.”

Bloemfontein has proved a happy hunting ground for the Dolphins.

They arrived at Chevrolet Park earlier this season in the Momentum One-day Cup without a win and proceeded to crush the hosts by 128 runs.

It’s a big ground where sensible batting and turning over the strike is the key.

Knights coach Sarel Cilliers is keen for his charges to break their duck, saying that losing, like winning, can become a habit and it’s vital his side remained positive and played for the win.

“It’s difficult to get out of certain ruts but we know what needs to be fixed and we need to focus on getting those things right,” he said.

“We need to find momentum and it won’t be easy against the Dolphins as they are as desperate to win as we are.

“It would be great to move off the bottom of the log though.”

It’s been frustrating times for Klusener in the last two matches, and he will want his players to go for the jugular, show more urgency in their batting and rediscover the winning feeling prominent in the camp at the end of the recent four-day series when the Dolphins won their last three matches to finish third on the table.

There is no Kyle Abbott or David Miller, who are both in the Proteas T20 squad preparing for the opening T20 clash against Pakistan at Kingsmead on Friday.

In comes Imraan Khan for the injured Keshav Maharaj and Divan van Wyk is included as the extra batsmen for Miller.

Cameron Delport is in the squad and will be keen for his first start of the season in the competition.

Klusener has hinted of a possible change in the batting order, but would not commit to the finer details, saying: “The option is there as you tend to play a bit differently in Bloemfontein.

“We will see once the game gets underway.”

The bottom line is, whoever loses today, will be firmly entrenched at the foot of the table with not much chance of being a threat.

DOLPHINS SQUAD

Jonathan Vandiar, Ravi Bopara, Cody Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Imraan Khan, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Divan van Wyk, Daryn Smit (capt), Prenelan Subrayen, Robbie Frylinck, Cameron Delport and Craig Alexander.

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