Smit: ‘Key is to unsettle the Lions top order’

2012-11-21 00:00

IT could be a case of third time lucky for captain Daryn Smit and the Dolphins when they host the Lions in a Momentum One-day Cup clash at Kingsmead today.

When the teams have met twice previously this season — in the four-day and one-day format — the Lions have been victorious at the Wanderers and this time around, Smit is quietly confident his team can upset the form book on home turf.

Said Smit: “We have shown great character in winning our last two matches against the Knights [away] and Titans [Durban].

“Obviously we want to keep that confidence and momentum going, but we know we are up against the in-form team in the competition.

“The Lions are not at the top of the log for nothing and have a balanced team.

“They have a great top four in their batting line-up with Gulam Bodi, Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock and Neil MacKenzie [who] are all capable of turning a match and piling on the runs.

“Their bowling speaks for itself with the likes of Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen and Aaron Phangiso among the leading wicket-takers in the competition.

“We have fallen foul of this abundance of talent before and it’s time for us to stand tall and show what we are capable of.”

Smit is under no illusions that the visitors will be pulling out all the stops in getting back to winning ways after a surprise loss to the Knights last Friday.

“They are going to come out firing on all cylinders and we have to stand up to them and not be intimidated by them.

“We have players who are more than able to meet the challenge and we must not give an inch,” Smit added.

Opening batsman Jonathan Vandiar is still injured, his side strain expected to keep him side-lined for at least another month, but this alleviates a few selection headaches, as Smit explained.

“Imraan Khan has come in for Vandiar and is an automatic choice to open the innings after his century [101] against the Titans last Friday.

“He is a classic example of another’s disappointment creating an opportunity and he has not held back.

“Kyle Abbott was left out against the Knights and I think this spurred him on as he came back with all guns firing against the Titans, taking three wickets and he was even on a hat-trick at one stage.”

Although the win against the Titans was touch-and-go toward the end, Smit is happy with his team’s approach and the contributions coming from batsmen and bowlers.

“We are settling well and the players realise their responsibility and role in the team.

“Our batsmen are contributing all down the order and the bowlers are striking at important phases in matches. Our key for today is to unsettle the Lions top-order and take early wickets to set them back,” he said.

The Kingsmead pitch is expected to offer much the same as it did against the Titans when just over 500 runs were scored in the match. It offered decent bounce, with the ball coming through well.

All is set for a cracking encounter, with the weather — with rain forecast in the evening — the only threat.

Gates open at 2 pm and the match starts an hour later. Tickets are R30 for adults and R15 for children.

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