Tough Pro20 start for Dolphins

2009-01-21 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins will kick off their Standard Bank Pro20 Series this weekend with a visit to the Gestetner Diamond Eagles tomorrow (6 pm) followed by Sunday’s trip to the MTN 45 over champions, the Nashua Titans.

The Dolphins are happy to welcome back two key players into the squad, as both Alfonso Thomas and Johann Louw are fully recovered from their injuries.

Convenor of selectors Jay Naidoo said the changes from the team that did duty in the MTN semi-final were due to a number of reasons, including form and the conditions they expect over the weekend.

“Grant Rowley did well for us in the Pro20 last year, and we feel that we need that experience at the top of the order.”

Naidoo also pointed to young left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who will likely feature in the second match in Pretoria.

“The Titans have three spinners, which they have used extensively in the MTN competition.

“So if they decide to produce a wicket that helps their spinners, we feel that Keshav can also do a job for us. He has been outstanding in the under-19 three-day competition, and he brings something new to the table,” Naidoo said.

The arrangement regarding Sanath Jayasuriya has changed, with his return now hinging on the Dolphins making the semis of the Pro20 shootout.

“Sanath will be playing in another series against India, so he will only return to us around February 11,” said Naidoo.

“If we make the semis, then we will obviously look to use his match-winning capabilities at the closing stages of the competition.”

The Dolphins could not have a stiffer opening to the Pro20 series, facing the country’s form sides on the same weekend and both away from home.

Dolphins: Ahmed Amla (Captain), Grant Rowley, Imran Khan, HD Ackerman, Jon Kent, Daryn Smit, Pierre de Bruyn, Alfonso Thomas, Johann Louw, Quinton Friend, Yusuf Abdulla, Keshav Maharaj, Martin Bekker.

Eagles: Boeta Dippenaar (captain ), Dean Elgar, Loots Bosman, Rilee Rossouw, Morne van Wyk, Ryan Mclaren, Ryan Bailey, CJ de Villiers, Con de Lange, Dillon du Preez, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Thandi Tshabalala.

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