Did Dolphins misread a bone-dry Kingsmead?

2013-01-08 00:00

CAPTAINCY in sport is not for the faint-hearted and, quietly spoken as Dolphins skipper Daryn Smit might be, he is finding the task more up and down than an irregular heartbeat.

Speaking to The Witness after his side had slumped to a 252-run defeat to the Lions at Kingsmead in the latest round of Sunfoil four-day clashes, Smit was blunt and to the point in summing up his team’s performance.

“We were outplayed in all departments, and when that happens there’s only one side of the result you can end up on. Imran Tahir (7-64) made hay in our second innings as conditions panned out in his favour.

“Having said that, we cannot blame conditions and have to be responsible for the way we played. We gave away some soft wickets and, having won the toss and bowling first, we failed to make full use of conditions, giving the Lions 70 to 80 runs more than we wished.”

The result was a harsh reminder of how fickle cricket can be, the Dolphins crashing back to earth with a bang after floating on the high of the previous week’s innings and 247-run win against the struggling Titans.

Said Smit: “That was the biggest disappointment. We had shown what we were capable of and within a week, we were left grovelling to stay in the match. Frustration perhaps best sums up my thoughts right now, sitting in the changeroom watching the bowlers do the job and the batsmen then struggling to reach 200.

“Our bowlers have outperformed themselves in all formats of the game to date, while our batting has been inconsistent. We lack one or two ‘Mr Reliable’ type players who we know can knuckle down and dig us out of a hole. Neil MacKenzie and Zander de Bruyn are classic examples for the Lions, both involved in laying the platform for victory.”

While Smit laments yet another lacklustre performance by his charges, talk among cricket followers off the field focused on the pitch which was anything but the famed Kingsmead “Green Mamba” of old.

Many felt it was devoid of any grass and the Dolphins had read it wrong, going into the match without a recognised spinner. Having baked under a hot sun for a few days and drying out, it played right into Tahir’s hands as he returned to terrorise his former teammates.

“What’s done is done and we can only look ahead. We have a break from matches this week and then head to Newlands to meet the Cobras, followed by a home clash against the high-flying Warriors, then ending off against the Titans in Centurion. We are fourth in the log and definitely want to improve on that position, ending the season with confidence, rather than a whimper,” said Smit.

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