Klusener: ‘It was the middle overs that cost us’

2013-11-14 00:00

WHEN Titans batsman Mangoliso Mosehle smashed Kyle Abbot’s third ball of the 49th over for six in Tuesday’s Momentum One Day Cup play-off at Kingsmead, it signalled joy for the Titans and heartbreak, mixed with frustration, for the Dolphins.

Yesterday, the Dolphins were hurting after their five-wicket loss in a match that could have seen them progress to tomorrow’s final against the Cobras in Cape Town.

For the first time in many seasons, the Dolphins were competitive, finishing second on the log, winning five matches and losing only two. They had done the hard yards on Friday, beating the Cobras to ensure they would earn a play-off spot, but Tuesday’s effort was just a touch short of the mark.

“We had a great start from Morné [van Wyk] and Cameron [Delport] with fifty for the first wicket and a great finish from Daryn [Smit] and Kyle,” said Dolphins coach Lance Klusener. “It was the middle overs that cost us as we lost our way and vital wickets.

“It seemed the Titans generated useful turn and bounce and that was our undoing. We were in trouble at 146-7 and finished well to set a target just under 240.”

However, Klusener felt those wickets in the middle overs had seen the Dolphins finish at least 20 to 30 runs short of where they should have.

“That’s the game unfortunately and we can only reflect on what were missed opportunities,” he said. “That stumble did cost us and the bottom line is we want to win. It’s fine to say we were competitive, we were okay, but it did not win us the match. We set high standards and winning is one of them.”

Klusener said the team were “hurting” after what happened, beaten to the punch by a side who charged up the inside rail in the home straight of the competition, the Titans winning four consecutive games to reach the final.

“We had the opportunity and never took it. It’s great that the lads are hurting as it shows the healthy environment within the team. They know how close they came,” he said. “That spot in the final was within reach and not to have grabbed it, is a body blow felt by all.”

The loss has brought to an end the Dolphins’ one-day campaign and now it’s about focusing on the Sunfoil Four- Day Series, starting next Thursday with a match against the Cobras at Kingsmead.

“Now it’s about moving on to the longer version of the game. It has a different feel and approach to it and we have the players who can make it count.”

One of those players is England Test bowler Graham Onions. After a slightly indifferent one-day campaign, Klusener is confident his import will step up to the plate in the weeks ahead.

“It’s taken time for him to settle and conditions and lines are a little different to what he is used to,” he said. “But, he is a master four-day bowler, having won the county championship with Durham and been the leading wicket-taker more than once. He is massive for us and to date, I think he has been brilliant.”

Van Wyk echoed what Klusener said, adding, “I am proud of the side. They gave their all to the end and it’s been a hallmark of ours that we have managed to dig ourselves out of tough situations. Those are signs of a great team.”

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