KP and plenty more on Oval menu

2010-10-07 00:00

THIS morning’s SuperSport Series tussle between the Dolphins and the visiting Warriors reads like the proverbial buffet, with much for the cricket lover to muse over before a ball is even bowled at the PMB Oval.

For starters, culinary and cricketing, both sides are looking to bounce back from defeats in the first round of the competition.

The meat of the matter will be the scrap between two sets of youngsters and seasoned campaigners in both camps, as both teams have lost several stars to national duty.

The Dolphins have lost Loots Bosman, David Miller and Hashim Amla, and in their places come Inland star Bradley Moses, Divan Van Wyk and, lest we forget, one Kevin Pietersen.

While the sensation caused by Pietersen’s arrival is impossible to ignore, Moses and Van Wyk will feel they have even more to gain from this week.

Van Wyk has made the move from his native Free State, while Moses, who greedily gathered runs in the winter camp, gets a chance to show his talents on his home strip.

“I made my debut late last season against the Cobras, so it’s great to be back in the Dolphins set-up,” he enthused.

The rare chance to play alongside the world-class Pietersen has only added to the top-order batsman’s excitement.

“It’s a bit weird to see your name on the same team sheet with one of the best players in the world, but it is also a great chance to learn from him this week,” added Moses, who is pencilled in one slot above KP in the Dolphins’ order.

The Warriors have been harder hit than most by national call-ups, but coach Russell Domingo says that can only be a good sign.

“We have lost a few to the Proteas, but it shows that we are producing the goods.

“It also allows other guys who performed well for the ‘B’ side to play at this level,” he said.

Domingo said last week’s loss to the Titans was not altogether unexpected,as his side had only had a day to switch thinking mode from the helter-skelter of an excellent Champions League showing, to the altogether more sedate pace of the SuperSport Series.

“We got better as the match progressed, and I was pleased with the way we batted in the second innings.”

Even though he is without the considerable services of Colin Ingram, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell and injured skipper Davey Jacobs, the Warriors minder can still call on the cool head of Ashwell Prince — and the limitless energy of Makhaya Ntini.

“Ash and Makhaya bring a wealth of experience, but guys like Justin Kresuch and Arno Jacobs are also seasoned franchise players.”

Domingo also expects much from the likes of Andrew Birch, Lyall Meyer and returning seamer Basheer Walters, and says that there is no shortage of motivation to get out you-know-who.

“It’s a chance for our bowlers to test themselves against one of the top players in the world, and they all want to be the one that gets that prize scalp of Pietersen,” he explained.

Pietersen aside, Domingo expects plenty of mongrel from a young Dolphins side with a point to prove.

“They bat a long way down and they are always a tough nut to crack,” he said.

Despite the opening losses, both Domingo and Dolphins counterpart Graham Ford were encouraged by the way their teams improved during their contests last week, which leads one to believe that the fare should be rather tasty this morning.

The rain that has battered these parts of late will certainly have juiced up the pitch, but groundsman Jannie Vermaak was adamant that it should still be full of runs.

It all points to a keen contest, but Dolphins supporters will look to Pietersen to provide the stardust to light up what has been a rather grim week in Maritzburg.

Of course, if the England superstar gets going as only he can, the Oval will certainly come roaring back to life.

Teams:

DOLPHINS: Imraan Khan (Captain),Divan van Wyk, Bradley Moses, Kevin Pietersen, Ahmed Amla, Daryn Smit, Jon Kent, Kyle Abbott, Quinton Friend, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Mthokozisi Shezi and Devon Conway.

WARRIORS: Ashwell Prince (Capt), Jon Jon Smuts, Michael Smith, Justin Kreusch, Arno Jacobs, Bevan Bennett, Craig Thyssen, Lyall Meyer, Andrew Birch, Makhaya Ntini, Corbyn Dolley and Basheer Walters.

Play at the Oval starts at 9:30 and entrance is free.

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