Crunch time for Dolphins and Eagles in MTN clash today

2008-11-18 00:00

THERE is no way but up for the battered KZN Dolphins and humbled Free State Eagles as they go into their MTN Domestic Championship match at Kingsmead in Durban from 3.45 pm today.

After devastating defeats last Friday evening, both sides will be desperate to get a first win under their belts in this non-televised match.

The savaging of the Dolphins’ attack by Highveld Lions duo Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Jean Symes — and the Eagles bowlers coming in for merciless stick by the Northern Titans’ Faf du Plessis and Martin van Jaarsveld for failing to defend a huge total — will have shattered some players’ confidence.

The Eagles, though, will be heartened that all their batsmen sparked in posting a formidable 334 for four in the Bloemfontein match. But the Eagles’ impressive bowling attack was smashed to all corners as the Titans’ Van Jaarsveld (132 not out) and Du Plessis (114 not out) put together an unbeaten stand of 229 at virtually 10 runs to the over.

Eagles coach Corrie van Zyl will be calling for a major improvement from the bowlers in an effort to build up momentum. And it’s difficult to see the Eagles attack, which includes proven performers in Dillon du Preez, Ryan McLaren, Thandi Tshabalala, Victor Mpitsang, CJ de Villiers and Con de Lange, going through the same collective nightmare that occurred last weekend.

The Lions, with Symes (146) and Van Jaarsveld (100 not out off 56 balls) in top-class form, blasted their way to 344 for five, the highest score in the 45-over competition’s history. Van Jaarsveld’s devastating innings was also the competition’s fastest hundred.

It must surely now be privately acknowledged by the Dolphins that their bowling attack is a weakness.

Feted Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya had a poor debut for the Dolphins in Potchefstroom last Friday, having arrived in Durban only the day before. The vastly experienced 39-year old should be more acclimatised now and needs a big performance to gee up captain Ahmed Amla’s men.


Dolphins: Ahmed Amla (capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Imraan Khan, Grant Rowley, HD Ackerman, Jon Kent, Pierre de Bruyn, Daryn Smit, Johann Louw, Saidi Mlongo, Yusuf Abdullah, Quinton Friend, Ugasen Govender.

Eagles: Boeta Dippenaar (capt), Dean Elgar, Loots Bosman, Rilee Rossouw, Morne van Wyk, Ryan McLaren, Ryan Bailey, Allan Kruger, Con de Lange, Dillon du Preez, Victor Mpitsang, Thandi Tshabalala, CJ de Villiers.

Start: 3.45 pm (non-televised match).

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