Not all bad for Dolphins

2014-09-26 00:00

THEY were seen as underdogs and as such, were not expected to deliver much at the Champions League T20 tournament in India.

Many will say the Dolphins have lived up to expectation, playing two games and losing both, with qualification for a play-off spot too far distant to contemplate.

The Dolphins have not even started their domestic season, yet the good old talk around the television and braai is already tinged with sarcastic banter, mixed with a tad of sentimental pathos.

Stats don’t lie and they will show that to date, the Dolphins have not risen to the occasion, their “points for” column empty as they languish at the foot of Group A.

But the stats are just the bare bones of the story. There’s more to it, some flesh, some essence that paints a different picture, one to be proud of.

That picture is one of character and grit. This is a massive stage for the Dolphins to play on and they swim among some giants of the T20 game, teams littered with international stars, teams with huge pressure to perform.

Our boys don’t have that. There is a certain degree of acceptance that every game is going to be more than tough. Winning one match, perhaps two, would be considered a worthwhile tournament, while pre-departure talk of winning the whole hog was a fairytale that had yet to be written.

But, let’s look at the positives. In their first match against the Perth Scorchers, the Dolphins had all but won the game until the last ball.

Robbie Frylinck, a vital cog in the Dolphins’ T20 engine room, bowled two horrendous last balls that sailed over the boundary to give the Australian bunch a win. His first four balls of the over had been beauties, the batsmen unable to get him away.

Pressure could be considered the overwhelming enemy that saw two mediocre balls prove costly and let’s believe that to be true, but on the whole, the Dolphins matched up to the Scorchers and were undaunted playing in their first ever match in the competition.

At 12-3, they were again written off, but they rose from the canvas, albeit slightly groggy, to box clever and nearly pull off one of the great comeback wins of all time.

It was an encouraging start, undone somewhat in the second match against double-IPL champions the Chennai Super Kings.

One of the more recognised T20 outfits in world cricket, the Super Kings created a scene similar to the great David and Goliath showdown, except this time, the giant did win.

With a team of huge international representation, they had to win and they did, by 54 runs, but only after putting the Dolphins bowlers to the sword in making 242 with ease.

Again, the Dolphins never lay down. They took it on, comfortably ahead of the run-rate at one stage, a middle-

order collapse and no batsmen going on to a big score proving the difference between the sides.

With nothing to lose, they had a go, they displayed a real fighting spirit and pride in their cause. This was definitely a different Dolphins outfit and approach to what has been seen in previous seasons.

They made 188 all out, stretching the Kings to the full 20 overs, a minor plus in the mental stakes, and a score which on any other day, may have been a winning one.

Be proud of the Dolphins. They are boxing way above their weight and are connecting with some lusty blows.

If they bring this attitude home, the season ahead could be one of rich pickings.

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