Team refuse to crack

2015-03-17 00:00

IT must have been tough for Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk and Calvin Savage to enjoy their lunch at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

They were the two Dolphins batsmen at the crease, putting together a rescue act in pursuit of 176 needed for victory against the Titans.

Only problem was the wickets column. The top order had failed and at 72-6, with 104 runs still needed, there was a chance the Dolphins would allow the home side to sneak through as the winning post approached.

That the Dolphins managed to breast the tape with three wickets in hand is testimony to Van Wyk’s leadership and culture he has ingrained in the side and the character of the players who refused to crumble, believing there was always a chance of pulling off the win.

For a while though, it looked all too familiar as the Dolphins had played themselves into a winning position only to falter at the final hurdle. In the past, it’s happened more often than not and therein lies the difference — the Dolphins may have been stumbling, but they dug deep and found the resources to throw their own counter punches and come back to get a knockout of their own.

For the record, Van Wyk, who finished on 59* (to compliment his first innings 81), added 116 for the seventh wicket with Savage (53), the latter out with only three runs needed for the win.

After four days of tough cricket, the win was all about character, the resolve to stand tall and refuse to surrender.

“Proud is the best way I can put it,” said Van Wyk. “Especially Calvin’s performance. He took important wickets and contributed in both innings with the bat.”

While knowing there was work to be done in his team’s second innings, Van Wyk thrived on the situation.

“Regardless of who won, I think it was good for the match to get so tight and for us to find ourselves in the situation we were,” he said.

“We had to think and play decent cricket to get out of the predicament. Batsmen we normally rely on at the top of the order had failed to deliver and it was time for others to put their cards on the table and do something about it.”

Savage, in the side primarily as a bowler, was the perfect partner for Van Wyk. He scored just 15 from his first 77 deliveries, taking 142 balls to complete his innings. In the first innings, his 38 enabled the Dolphins to eke out a 85-run lead which proved decisive in the context of the game.

“We are trying to convince Calvin he is a legitimate all-rounder and he has proven such in the last two games,” said Van Wyk. “He can take wickets and coming in at seven, his application with the bat and his ability to score runs has been vital, the difference between winning and losing.”

With the log-leading Lions romping home by 10 wickets against the Knights, they enjoy a 17,58 points advantage over the second-placed Dolphins, making this week’s clash between the two sides at Kingsmead a mini ‘Test’ match.

“Every four-day match is a test of skill and stamina and we will approach the Lions clash like any other, focusing on what has made us successful in recent times,” said Van Wyk.

“We are finding ways to get through difficult situations and it’s building belief and character, making the team work together for the Dolphins badge.”

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