Cobras can be beaten, says Daryn Smit

2013-01-16 00:00

AS the Dolphins head to Newlands for their Sunfoil four-day clash against the Cobras from tomorrow to Sunday, there’s a feeling the match will be something of a double-edged sword.

Daryn Smit and his men, who are fourth on the log, will be looking for greater consistency, especially among the batsmen at the top of the order, after the Cobras came down to earth with a heavy defeat to the Lions in the last round of matches.

The Dolphins, having enjoyed a week’s break, also lost heavily to the ­Lions in their last match, going down by 252 runs as they failed to reach 200 in either innings at Kingsmead.

This was a far cry from their demolition of the Titans in the previous match, when the Dolphins finally clicked, showing what they are capable of.

An innings and 247 runs win was just the tonic needed to kick-start the season and the new year, but just when many fans thought the side had turned the corner, it appears there are bigger, more challenging obstacles in the road.

In that match, the batting finally came good, Divan van Wyk getting 92, Vaughn van Jaarsveld a solid 160 and Cody Chetty 101 not out.

Smit and Jonathan Vandiar waded in with fifties and Imraan Khan (eight) was the only batsman to fail as the Kingsmead scoreboard stopped at 548-6, the first time the Dolphins had progressed beyond 500 in years.

The Dolphins bowlers performed admirably, as they have tended to do all season, knocking over the Titans for 167 and 134, with pacemen Kyle Abbott and Craig Alexander in the picture.

Smit, and most importantly coach Lance Klusener, will be looking for more of the same in Cape Town, but they face a Cobras side sitting 10 points clear at the top of the log and spitting venom after suffering their first defeat of the season, by eight wickets to the Lions, at Newlands last week.

“It’s a big game for us and the major positive is knowing the Cobras can be beaten. On the contrary, we could be on the receiving end of a Cobras backlash and they could come out against us ready to reassert their auithority in the competition.”

Smit said his team had put in the hard yards in preparation for the clash, building up a sweat in the recent humid weather in Durban. He acknowledged that his bowlers had performed well this season, but strong positions had not been capitalised on.

“We have bowled sides out this season, taking 20 wickets more often than not. Winning positions have been created but we have failed to drive the advantage home, failing to bang the final nail into the coffin.”

Having Lance Klusener as coach has had a positive influence on the squad, with a different brand of cricket being played, Smit added.

“As a franchise, we had forgotten how to win,” he said.

“Lance, as is his nature and definitely his style of play, has motivated us, ensuring we remain positive and play all formats of the game until the final ball.

“With him, there is always a chance, a moment, that could swing a game.

“He has given us the confidence to play hard and win hard, like we did against the Titans.

“He has definitely had an impact on the bowlers, as taking wickets has been a weak point in previous seasons.

“Now it’s up to the batsmen to either build on what the bowlers have created, or set up imposing totals.”

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