Dolphins one win away from semis, but Cobras look dangerous

2011-02-11 00:00

AGAINST quite significant odds, the KZN Dolphins are just one win away from the Pro20 Series semi-finals.

Tonight’s round-robin clash against the Cape Cobras is therefore an ideal opportunity for Imraan Khan’s side to book a slot in the final four.

What’s more, they are at home, having already garnered two impressive wins on the road.

During both matches, the Kingsmead-based franchise had their slice of luck.

But, as anyone in sport will tell you, fortune is as fickle as the weather that brings it.

The Dolphins will be now looking to build on the two wins over the Knights and the Warriors, victories which see them top the standings at this stage.

After last season’s pitiful, winless run, the Pro20 Series is an infinitely better place for the Dolphins.

Khan has mixed and matched his attack all series long, with even the likes of Loots Bosman and David Miller turning their arm over for the side. It has not always been convincing, but it has certainly done the trick.

Ford readily admits that his side is a few leather-flingers shy, and said it is just a case of all hands on deck to ensure that the 20 overs get bowled.

Ford said they had got the idea of using part-timers from the friendlies they played against Champions League outfits back in September.

So far it has worked, but one fears that it will unravel at some point.

Tonight’s opposition, the Cobras, have the sort of hitting power that may yet inflict some serious damage on what one television commentator eloquently described as “flighted filth”.

The Cobras not only have the colourful Herschelle Gibbs in their top order, but they also have the unorthodox yet dangerous Owais Shah in tow. The former England man is too good a talent not to fire at some stage, and the Dolphins will be hoping that he waits for another night.

The unassuming Richard Levi has been in fine form lately — even surpassing his more illustrious team-mates in recent weeks — and his new role as an opener has reaped rich rewards.

Further down the list is Justin Kemp, who notched up a first-class ton the last time he was at Kingsmead.

That particular innings was restrained and responsible.

In this format, however, he has already shown his rapid, wrecking-ball abilites with his final over antics sealing a memorable, final-ball win over the Titans in the competition opener.

Of course, the Dolphins have their own heavyweights in the willow-wielding department.

Loots Bosman and David Miller have been in menacing form, while Vaughn van Jaarsveld has simmered without reaching boiling point.

In many ways, that trio will hold the key for the Dolphins’ fortunes tonight.

And speaking of which, a certain Chad Fortune has now joined the Kingsmead playing staff.

Just 19 yesterday, the SA U19 allrounder — who hails from the Cape — has been chucked straight into the squad for tonight’s match.

Fortune’s arrival continues a strange pattern that has developed, with the Dolphins’ continued dips into the resources of other franchises saying much about their faith in the various development channels within KZN cricket.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Devon Conway and now Chad Fortune have been lured to the coast this season — and Yasir Arafat is here for the Pro20 Series.

Quite what that means for the two ‘B’ sides currently contesting a derby clash at the Oval, no one knows.

That issue will be pushed aside for now, though, as the Dolphins look to bag their tickets to the semis tonight.

 

Squads:

Dolphins: Imraan Khan (c), David Miller, Devon Conway, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Ahmed Amla, Loots Bosman, Daryn Smit (wk), Kyle Abbott, Mthokozisi Shezi, Cameron Delport, Jon Kent, Keshav Maharaj, Yasir Arafat and Chad Fortune.

 

Cobras: Herschelle Gibbs, Richard Levi, Owais Shah, Justin Ontong, Justin Kemp (c), Dane Vilas (wk), Vernon Philander, Michael Rippon, Johann Louw, Claude Henderson, Charl Langeveldt.

TV times: SuperSport 2 from 5.45 pm.

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