It could have been better

2015-04-01 00:00

IF a team’s success is always measured by what’s on the trophy shelf, this past season would be another to consign to the history books and best forgotten when analysing the Dolphins.

That’s why cricket is a thinking man’s game and while the stats are there and they don’t lie, the season could best be seen as one of frustration at times and missed opportunities.

It was a long season starting with a trip to India to play in the Champions League, prize for winning the previous season’s domestic Ram Slam T20 title It was followed by an intense domestic programme that started with the One- Day Cup, T20, Sunfoil Four-Day Series, back to the One-Day Cup and setting with six weeks of four-day attrition.

For once, the weather seemed a little kinder allowing more game time, although there were times when the rain was welcomed in saving face. In the absence of Protea players David Miller, Kyle Abbott and Imran Tahir, the replacements were more than able, often establishing themselves in the side.

Positive signs were the emergence of a strong, young bowling attack — Daryn Dupavillon, Matthew Pillans, Calvin Savage and spinner Keshav Maharaj — to back up Robbie Frylinck, Craig Alexander and McLaren, with Graham Hume and Craig Kirsten also given opportunities.

At times, the batting from the top order left it all for the rest to do, but the evergreen Morné van Wyk enjoyed good one-day and four-day competitions. Consistency was a problem as batsmen produced innings of brilliance followed by times leaner than the famine of biblical times in Egypt.

Van Wyk replacing the injured Quinton de Kock in the Protea one-day and T20 squads was a popular choice, rounded off with Van Wyk carrying his bat for 114 in the third T20 in Durban, despite the Windies having already won the rubber.

When it all clicked though, the Dolphins held their own against anyone in any arena and the off-season will be spent by coach Lance Klusener with a few players, ironing out technique and technicalities, ready for another assault on the demanding domestic season.

One-Day Cup - 2nd

Played 10 Won 5 Lost 2 N/R 3 Pts 26

A solid competition saw the Dolphins finish second in the table, losing in a playoff at Kingsmead against eventual champions the Titans, who beat the Cobras in Cape Town.

A sign of what was to come saw the Dolphins chase 301 in just over 40 overs against the Titans at Centurion in the first match of the competition, Morné van Wyk carried his bat for 121* and Vaughn van Jaarsveld added 62.

Rain against the Lions in Durban saw the points shared and then Van Wyk and Cameron Delport set a one-day world record with an undefeated 367 for the first wicket against the Knights in Bloemfontein on a batsmen’s paradise that saw the Knights lose by just 25 runs.

This set the Dolphins up well with 10 points from three matches but a four-wicket loss to the struggling Warriors in Pietermaritzburg saw the Dolphins back to the drawing board.

Wins against the Lions in Potch, the Cobras in Cape Town and the Titans in Durban were enough to secure a play-off that was lost by 58 runs.

Leading Batsman: Morné van Wyk

Matches 10 Runs 427 HS 175* Avg 61,00 SR 87,67, 2x100

Leading Bowler: Robbie Frylinck

Matches 9 Wkts 15 Avg 27,20 Econ 5,41 S/R 30,1, Best 4-30

Ram Slam - 4th

Played 10 Won 3 Lost 6 N/R 1 Pts 16

As defending champions there was pressure to perform, but in a game of chance,the Dolphins were often second best. Having lost all their matches at the Champions League in India, the team emphasised they had learnt from the experience and one of their tactics was to go hard from the start of an innings.

Most times this failed, with Cameron Delport struggling at the top of the order, giving his wicket away with ordinary strokes.

Wins against the Warriors, Lions and Titans were never going to be enough to be a threat in the competition. Blushes were saved at the triple-header at Kingsmead when the Dolphins, taking on the Knights, were dismissed for a paltry 82 before the weather gods took pity and saved the day.

Too often, the Dolphins lost wickets in clusters when handily placed, allowing the opposition back into the game, more often than not, winning it too.

Leading Batsman: Vaughn van Jaarsveld

Matches 10 Runs 239 HS 51* Avg 26,55 SR 121,31, 1x50

Leading Bowler: Robbie Frylinck

Matches 10 Wkts Avg 19,25 12 Econ 7,07 S/R 16,08, Best 2-16

Four-Day Series - 3rd

Played 10 Won 4 Lost 4 Draw 2 Pts 106,95

The season caught up with the players in their final two games when they were soundly beaten by the Lions and Cobras. Set to secure second place behind champions the Lions, the Dolphins were pipped at the post by the Titans, meaning the Durban franchise finished in the same position as last year.

At times, the Dolphins let strong positions slip with a poor session of play and a major headache throughout the competition was batsmen not making big, telling hundreds. The only big baby was Divan van Wyk’s 171 against the Knights at Kingsmead, where the weather robbed the Dolphins of a win and what proved a valuable 10 points.

A big plus though was the opportunity seized by the young fringe players — Pillans, Daniel Sincuba, Graham Hume — who stepped into the senior side with aplomb.

Daryn Dupavillon was a tower of strength and stamina in the absence of Abbott and was well worth his rest for the final game against the Cobras.

Leading Batsman: Morné van Wyk

Matches: 8 Runs 714 HS 122 Avg 79,33 S/R 68,71, 2x100, 5x50 (Van Wyk topped the four day series batting averages)

Leading Bowler: Matthew Pillans

Matches 6 Wkts 29 Avg 23,79 Econ 3,39 S/R 42,0, Best Innings 6-67 Best Match 10-129.

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