Friends … for now

2009-02-06 00:00

THE Dolphins will be looking to get back to winning ways in tomorrow’s final round-robin tie of the Standard Bank Pro20 Series against the Lions at Kingsmead.

Standing in their way will be a Lions outfit desperate to forget Wednesday’s match in Potchefstroom, where they lost two wickets off the last two balls to tie a match they really should have won.

The Lions have Neil Mckenzie and Vaughn van Jaarsveld back in the mix, and they will likely provide the most problems for Ahmed Amla’s bowling unit.

Mckenzie is all flicks and flair while Van Jaarsveld, after a rather dismal return Down Under, will be eager to get back to his bludgeoning best.

The return of several Proteas into the latter stages of series has revitalised the competition and Dolphins manager Jay Naidoo said that could only be a good thing.

“We have Hashim [Amla] back and we get Sanath [Jayasuriya] back for the semis, so we will also be a lot stronger.

“Also, the level of play is raised and the guys want to test themselves against the country’s best players,” Naidoo said yesterday.

The return of Amla is one that carries high hopes for the Dolphins. Hope that he can continue his fine form, but also hope that he can stabilise a top-order that has not played near its full potential so far.

Amla is set to open, and this will mean some reshuffling in the order. Hard-hitting opener Grant Rowley could miss out, as veteran HD Ackermann has been the Dolphins’ top-scorer and his vast experience will be crucial in the knockout stages.

“Hash will open as he has done so very well for the Proteas. It just means we will juggle the top three a bit,” Naidoo explained.

Naidoo echoed coach Yashin Ebrahim’s thoughts this week regarding the side’s batting woes.

“When you lose wickets regularly, it is very hard to get any momentum going. So hopefully with Hash coming in, one of the openers can bat through.

“If we have wickets in hand after 15 overs, regardless of the score, we can really launch into the final few overs.”

Naidoo, with one eye on next week’s semi-finals, also said tomorrow’s clash is very important for team morale.

“We have struggled a bit since Bloemfontein, but a win against the Lions will get us back on track. Winning, just like losing, can become a habit so the plan is to win and take that confidence into our semifinal.”

TV times: SuperSport 2 from 14:15

Teams

Dolphins: Ahmed Amla (captain), Hashim Amla, HD Ackerman, Imraan Khan, Grant Rowley, Jon Kent, Daryn Smit, Johann Louw, Yusuf Abdulla, Martin Bekker, Pierre de Bruyn, Quinton Friend, Alfonso Thomas.

Highveld Lions: Neil McKenzie (capt), Craig Alexander, Thando Bula, Werner Coetsee, Cliffie Deacon, Friedel de Wet, Robert Frylinck, Andre Nel, Alviro Petersen, Aaron Phangiso, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Dane Vilas.

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