Make or break game for Dolphins

2008-12-29 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins play their biggest game of the season Friday when they meet the Northern Titans at Kingsmead.

Victory in this MTN Domestic Championship match will ensure the Dolphins a berth in the semi-finals, captain Ahmed Amla told The Witness yesterday.

“If we beat the Titans it will take the pressure off our final league-phase match against the [Eastern Cape] Warriors on Sunday,” said Amla.

“It would be good for Sunday’s spectators in Port Elizabeth if we lose to the Titans, but having the semi-final race going down to the wire is not ideal for us.”

The Titans have been in good form and the Pretoria-based players are at the top of their game, so the Durban match represents a major challenge.

“The guys had Christmas Day off, but we practised on Boxing Day,” Amla said.

The Dolphins captain said the players were given a break by coach Yashin Ebrahim yesterday, but will be back in training today right through to Friday’s clash.

Amla is pleased with the prolific form of Dolphins opening batsman Imraan Khan (24), whose golden run must be catching the eye of SA selection convenor Mike Procter and company.

“Immy is the same age as Hashim [Amla], AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, who he played with and against at age-group level, so maybe he has just matured as a batsman a little later than those guys.”

The Dolphins skipper is confident that big batting performances are just around the corner for Sanath Jayasuriya and HD Ackerman.

What is certain is that the Dolphins — Sri Lankan legend Jayasuriya in particular — will need to be firing on all cylinders come Friday if they are to avoid a Warriors showdown in PE.

Convenor of selectors Jay Naidoo said the Dolphins squad will be named today.

Standings (played, won, tied, lost, no result, points):

Free State Eagles 10 7 0 2 1 34

Northern Titans 9 6 0 2 1 27

W. Cape Cobras 8 3 0 3 2 17

KZN Dolphins 8 3 0 4 1 15

E. Cape Warriors 8 2 0 5 1 11

Highveld Lions 9 2 0 7 0 9

Remaining fixtures:

January 2

At Cape Town - Cobras v Warriors, 4:15 pm

At Durban - Dolphins v Titans, 4:15 pm

January 4

At Paarl - Cobras v Lions, 10 am

At Port Elizabeth - Warriors v Dolphins 4:15 pm

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