Dolphins and Eagles set to entertain PMB

2009-11-11 00:00

THE Maritzburg Oval will certainly be the place to be if you are looking for quality cricket for free this weekend.

The KZN Dolphins, fresh from a timely MTN40 triumph, will lock horns with a very well-balanced Free State Eagles side at the Maritzburg Oval from tomorrow.

If ever a match illustrated the depth of quality cricketers in South Africa, the two squads are a very good indication of this.

Despite missing Hashim Amla, the explosive Loots Bosman and Yusuf Abdullah, the Dolphins can still call on the experience of HD Ackermann, Andrew Hall and Alfonso Thomas.

Captain Imraan Khan has also taken to leadership in the best way possible, by leading from the front with his own performance at the top of the order.

The ever-improving glut of youthful talent will also be on show, with in-form David Miller enjoying a return to familiar haunts.

The former Maritzburg College pupil will be joined in the middle order by the equally exciting Cameron Delport, while the multi-talented Daryn Smit will be busy, keeping wicket, bowling his leg-spin and also contributing useful runs in the middle order.

A seam attack that houses Hall, Johan Louw and the bustling Quinton Friend will enjoy an Oval wicket that has been covered for much of this week.

Not that Graham Ford’s men will have things their own way.

The Eagles have lost only Ryan McLaren to international commitments, which means they have a wealth of talent at their disposal.

Their batting alone represents the past and future of South African cricket.

In Boeta Dippenaar, the Eagles not only have one of the most technically correct batsmen in the country; they also have a man who would almost certainly be a Test star in any other generation.

Dippenaar’s innings in the MTN40 bore testimony to his enduring quality, and it is almost farcical that he is surplus to Protea requirements.

Equally unlucky is the visitors’ captain, Morné van Wyk.

He is in the form of his life, but barely gets a mention for higher honours.

Throw in the likes of Rilee Rossouw — a certain future international — Ryan Bailey and the deadly spin duo of Thandi Tshabalala and Con de Lange, and it all points to a fascinating battle.

One can only hope that the gloomy skies can disappear so that local fans can feast on the quality fare on offer.

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