KZN Dolphins aim for hat-trick

2008-12-24 00:00

IN cricket, there are few more satisfying feats for a bowler than earning a hat-trick, and the KZN Dolphins will be looking for a team “hat-trick” when they meet the Western Cape Cobras in a day/night MTN Domestic Championship match at Kingsmead on Boxing Day.

Having endured a miserable run of four-day draws and 45-over losses that reached 10 matches, the Dolphins finally came to life with back-to-back MTN wins last weekend that saw them rise from last to fourth on the six-franchise log table and a real shot at the competition’s semi-finals next month.

After beating the Warriors and Lions, the Dolphins will be aiming for revenge against the Cobras in this televised match that starts at 4.15 pm in Durban on Friday. The Cape Town-based side took the honours in the first-round match at Newlands 11 days ago.

Fast-medium bowler Alfonso Thomas (shoulder) and top-order batsman David Miller (lower back) were not considered for this Kingsmead clash and the same XI that beat the Lions by five wickets in the KZN capital last time out, plus Morne van Vuuren and Saidi Mlongo, make up the squad.

One of Van Vuuren, the Pietermaritzburg-based Standard Cricket Club all-rounder who has yet to see Dolphins action this season — some would say most unfairly — or Stanger-born Mlongo, who fulfils a useful holding role with his left-arm seamers, could get a run considering the mediocre performance of the Dolphins attack at the PMB Oval last Sunday.

Fast-medium Ugasen Govender (nought for 22 in three overs) and part-time spinners Imraan Khan and wicketkeeper Daryn Smit went for a collective 60 runs in nine overs and skipper Ahmed Amla conceded afterwards that his bowling attack was a concern.

Smit and in-form opening batsman Khan are certainties, so Govender could get the chop.

The Cobras will be smarting from their five-wicket defeat to the Titans last Sunday and the in-form Stiaan van Zyl and Henry Davids will be aiming to establish a solid base at the top of the order once again, while — like the Dolphins – the Cape team’s bowling attack needs to come to the party as a unit.

The Free State Eagles lead the log with 29 points from nine outings with the Northern Titans second on 25 following eight matches and the Cobras (15 points), Dolphins (13 points), Eastern Cape Warriors (nine points) and Highveld Lions (five points) completing the mix.

SQUADS

KZN Dolphins: I Khan, S Jayasuriya, A Amla (capt), H Ackerman, J Kent, J Louw, D Smit, P de Bruyn, Q Friend, Y Abdullah, U Govender, M van Vuuren, S Mlongo.

Western Cape Cobras (likely): H Davids, A Puttick, S van Zyl, J Ontong (capt), R Levi, V Philander, R Kleinveldt, R Canning, S Engelbrecht, C Henderson, F Plaatjies.

Other matches – Friday: Warriors vs Lions (PE). Sunday: Cobras vs Eagles (Paarl); Warriors vs Titans (East London).

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