Ready to go all the way

2015-03-18 00:00

THERE was an air of confidence about the Dolphins at their practice session at Kingsmead yesterday. The squad look fit and strong and there was healthy banter among players and coaching staff.

As the domestic season hits the final stretch, the Dolphins have come with a late charge, breaking from the chasing pack to hunt down the log leading Lions in the four-day competition and making a good job of it too.

The two sides meet at Kingsmead tomorrow and while the Lions are acknowledged as the best team in the competition and rightly deserve their spot at the head of proceedings, the Dolphins are buoyed by a series of encouraging performances in their last few games.

Their 10-wicket loss to the Lions at the Wanderers a month ago has been firmly relegated to history and the boys have bounced back with results against the Cobras and Titans, both on the road, while robbed by the weather against the Knights in Durban.

Confidence and belief can do wonders and there is plenty of it floating about the coastal franchise. One player making his presence felt after a lengthy absence from the game due to a shoulder injury is Calvin Savage, whose efforts with the bat of late has pulled the Dolphins from the mire.

“It’s great to be back but, after such a long break, there’s always a fear of never getting back to where you were before an injury,” he said. “There is rhythm with the ball and confidence with the bat but the most important aspect is the mental approach.

“If your head is right, the rest will follow.”

Primarily in the side as a first change quick bowler, Savage knows a shoulder injury is a massive setback for his trade but, at 22, he has the strength and ability to recover and, backed by a positive mind and approach, he believes he can return to his best.

“I have been working on my batting but there’s still a way to go with the bowling,” he said. “Plenty work needs to be done on my pace, accuracy and rhythm, with body strength and ball control mixed in. It all evolves around time, some technical issues and getting some overs in.

“I am playing in England in the off-season and that should be a huge help in getting me to my targets for next season with the Dolphins.”

While working on his bowling it’s been Savage’s contribution with the willow that has been a talking point.

On Sunday, he guided the Dolphins to a three-wicket victory against the Titans, adding 116 for the seventh wicket with skipper Morné van Wyk.

“We saw through a tough period before lunch, about half-an-hour, and we assessed where we were at the break,” said Savage.

Soon after lunch, Savage was dropped by Titans captain Henry Davids at slip, a more than crucial miss. “I think they thought they had the game wrapped up and let one slip. We had plenty of time and overs and with Morne’s wise head, we took matters 10 runs at a time,” said Savage.

“We played through some tough periods where their bowlers attacked us and once we were in sight of the win, they became demoralised and took the pressure off us.”

It looks the tried and trusted team for tomorrow’s match, with Andile Phehlukwayo missing out due to exams. With the bowlers doing the job, Daniel Sincuba could slot in as an extra batsmen.

Tomorrow’s fixtures

Dolphins v Highveld Lions

Warriors v Knights

Titans v Cape Cobras

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