Dolphins need to play winning cricket

2015-02-12 00:00

CATCHES win matches.

It’s one of the first seeds of cricket ingrained in any player, from when they start playing the game.

It’s an old cliché, but one that ­haunted the Dolphins on Tuesday night when they went down to the ­Titans by 58 runs in the One-Day Cup play-off at Kingsmead.

It was an all too familiar scenario for the small crowd of die-hard ­supporters who had some optimism after the Dolphins had reeled off two successive wins to get this far. Talk ­before the game was whether the ­Dolphins could deliver again when it counted, but, as had happened two seasons back when they hosted the ­Titans and Heino Kuhn’s century had thwarted them, this time the hosts were their own worst enemy.

Four dropped catches, including century-maker Dean Elgar when he had 18 and David Wiese (71*) twice — before he had scored and again on 21 — proved the difference between making the trip to Cape Town to meet the Cobras in the final tomorrow, and having to reflect on another campaign and what could have been.

Elgar said he believed the pitch was good for 230 and the Dolphins’ bowlers missed their length, compared to the Pretoria men who never allowed the Dolphins batsmen to get on top. That the Titans recovered from 8-2 to reach 267-6 is testimony to the fact that the Dolphins youngsters learnt first-hand how tough it is to make the step up to provincial cricket.

Dolphins skipper Morné van Wyk threw the word disappointed around in every sentence after the match. If it wasn’t for the floodlights, there would have been a massive dark pall over the ground after the game.

“Those four catches we dropped was clearly the difference between the sides,” he said. “Had we held those, the Titans may have battled to reach 200 and we would have had a far easier ­target with the batting we had. As it was, the big score put us under ­pressure from the start and that was seen in some of the shots that cost our ­batsmen their wickets.”

There was no foundation for the Dolphins to build their batting upon, being three wickets already down in powerplay (41-3), including Vaughan van Jaarsveld who had come off the back of successive centuries.

“Vaughn again came in early at three but it’s unfair to keep relying on one player time after time. He was out to a stunning slip catch by Titans ­captain Henry Davids at slip, showing it was the Titans’ night, everything ­going for them,” said Van Wyk.

While another cricket trophy has drifted out of Durban, there were some positives amid the gloom for Van Wyk.

“To finish second on the log and get a home playoff is encouraging. The hard fact is we had our chances, we could have won. We let it slip in more ways than one,” he said. “While it’s great to be in with a shout in certain competitions, we must start learning to nail the important matches. We ­definitely need that BMT [big match temperament].”

All that remains is for the Dolphins to get stuck into the four-day competition that they resume next Thursday when they meet the Lions at the ­Wanderers. It’s the start of a heavy campaign for them that see them play five matches in as many weeks.

They are currently fourth on the log after four matches and not far off the pace. With nothing to lose, they should play winning, positive cricket.

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