Rain, rain stay away please

2012-10-18 00:00

DOLPHINS skipper Daryn Smit was playing golf yesterday, experiencing the sun on his back and hoping for more of the same at the Pietermaritzburg Oval when the four-day Sunfoil clash against the Cobras (hopefully) gets underway today.

Last week, Smit and the boys had to find ways to pass the time as the match against the Knights, at the same venue, was abandoned without a ball being bowled, as water seeped onto the pitch, deeming it too dangerous to play.

“We were frustrated, particularly as we had been denied by the weather the previous week in East London against the Warriors. We only needed three wickets to wrap up the game and were denied by bad light. Losing all four days in Pietermaritzburg was a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s behind us now and we are taking this game one step at a time,” he said.

Smit added that his team was restless from inactivity and would be roaring to go this morning. “We have the same squad and will make a final selection once we have seen the strip. It’s the same wicket we would have played on last week and it looked pacey and bouncy, with a touch of grass. Our fast bowlers are keen to give it a work over and, if the blue skies continue, it’s a matter of getting onto the field and producing the goods. Our fortunes and favour with Mother Nature must change soon.”

Smit confirmed the same Dolphins squad from the Knights match, with no injuries to any key players. While his batsmen will be looking to occupy the crease and build match-winning innings, he has the utmost faith in his bowlers. “Our bowlers have come to the party this season, coming close to 20 wickets in both opening four-day matches against the Lions and Warriors. Kyle Abbott has hit his straps and is well backed up by Robbie Frylinck, Craig Alexander and Dane Paterson. Prenelan Subrayen is settling into the spinner’s role well and is an exciting young prospect. Groundstaff at the Oval have prepared a lively, pacey and bouncy pitch, with some grass and the toss could have a vital effect on the outcome of the game.”

With this in mind, Smit is delaying naming the final 11 to take to the field, knowing he has Mthokozisi Shezi as another pace bowling option. As for the batsmen, he is hoping the talented David Miller will step up to the mark after a mediocre start to the season where he has fallen way short of his capabilities.

“Imraan [Khan] and Vaughan [van Jaarsveld] have constructed solid innings in the previous matches while not quite pushing through to hundreds. Jonathan [Vandiar] has settled well back in Durban and has contributed solidly to the middle-order, filling the important number three slot with aplomb. With our bowlers setting the stage and not letting opposition batsmen compile big totals, it’s up to our batsmen to stick it in and take advantage of the hard work that has been done. We need to put together big partnerships and give our bowlers a comfortable cushion to bowl at and wrap up proceedings,” said Smit.

On the coaching front, it will be interesting with two new coaches to the respective franchises plotting the game. Lance Klusener has shown his influence on the Dolphins, making them more competitive and in-your-face, while Paul Adams has two wins under the belt — a 10-wicket thrashing of the Lions in the season’s opening match and a narrow 18-run win against the Warriors last week.

The Pietermaritzburg Oval could well be worth a visit over the next four days with both sides keen to stamp their authority.

Weather permitting, of course.

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