More trouble heading the Dolphins’ way

2010-01-08 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins face an uphill struggle in tonight’s MTN40 Championship match against a resurgent Highveld Lions at Kingsmead.

While the Dolphins were being punished by Herschelle Gibbs on Wednesday night, the Lions were inflicting their own damage by chasing down a mammoth victory target of 300 against the Eagles.

To make their feat even more remarkable, the Neil McKenzie-led Lions achieved their target with 12 balls to spare — and after they had taken all of 16 balls to get off the mark!

Clearly then, the Dolphins will need to be vastly improved if they are to get back to winning ways tonight.

The Lions have no option but to win, as they languish at the foot of the table on net run rate.

They have also played two more games than their rivals — the Dolphins and the Warriors — for the final semi-final spot and will be pinning their hopes on wrapping up their campaign unbeaten.

At their disposal, the visitors have a fearful batting line-up. McKenzie’s class at this level is undoubted, but it is the hitting power of Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Alviro Pietersen and Jonathan Vandiar that will worry Imraan Khan the most.

Vandiar has made it almost compulsory to make runs against his former province, and he comes into this game on the back of 108 off just 88 on Wednesday.

The Dolphins will be loath to repeat a bowling performance as loose as the one against the Cobras, because they will suffer a frightfully similar fate.

Johann Louw should return to the team after suffering from flu on Wednesday night, and coach Graham Ford will be hoping that Loots Bosman sticks around for a lot longer than two balls tonight.

Bosman’s cavalier approach is exactly what is needed at the top of the order, and the encouraging form shown by Dale Benkenstein will have pleased Ford.

Equally exciting is the emergence of David Miller as a genuine match-winner this season. Few hit the ball harder than the young left-hander, and he will have to be at his bashing best tonight.

The Dolphins will know too well that losing can become an irritating habit, so they will be eager to snap out of the hangover suffered at the hands of Gibbs recently.

The Lions, with nothing to lose, will be just as eager to inflict more pain.

DOLPHINS: Imraan Khan (captain), Loots Bosman, Ahmed Amla, Dale Benkenstein, Cameron Delport, David Miller, Daryn Smit, Andrew Hall, Alfonso Thomas, Johann Louw, Quinton Friend, Yusuf Abdulla, Jon Kent.

Highveld Lions: Neil McKenzie (capt), Alviro Petersen, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Zander de Bruyn, Dane Vilas, Robert Frylinck, Werner Coetsee, Thami Tsolekile, Cliffie Deacon, Andre Nel, Aaron Phangiso.

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