Dolphins eye second spot in four-day series

2014-04-03 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN and the Knights await the Dolphins as the Durban boys round off their season in their final four-day encounter starting today.

It should be an intriguing clash, the third-placed Dolphins keen to replace the Knights in second, with the table-topping Cobras virtually assured of the title they won last season.

There’s also the small matter of R600 000 on the table for the team finishing second and, with the Ram Slam domestic T20 trophy already on the shelf, the cash boost will be like another piece of silverware for a team who have made significant strides over the last season.

Having beaten the Lions at Kingsmead last week after the first day of the match was washed out, the Dolphins, on 88,44 points to the Knights’ 99,46, have reason to feel confident they can “take the money and run”.

Besides the incentive, a second-place finish will cap one of the best seasons the Durban franchise has enjoyed for many a long while and all these factors contrive to have the team flying to Bloemfontein with the momentum to finish the job with purpose and meaning.

Daryn Smit, last season’s captain and a senior member of the side, has enjoyed another consistent season with bat and as a leg-spinner, none more so that in that match against the Lions when he made useful runs, then wrapped up the Lions’ weak second innings with figures of 5-5, including a hat-trick.

He is under no illusion that the Dolphins are up to the task, keen to finish the season strongly and on a winning note.

“This is a big game for both sides as we eye second spot on the log and we are keen for the challenge,” he said. “We have had a great season and will keep our foot on the gas to the end.

“If we finish second after this match, it will mean the Dolphins would have finished better than last season in all three competitions — the one-day cup, T20 and four-day contests.”

Speaking on his bowling exploits, Smit said it was a pity the season was ending just as he started nabbing wickets.

“My achievement against the Lions is still a blur and I was surprised at what happened,” he said.

“It was madness out there but a combination of getting the ball in the right areas, mixed with some rash and surprising shots from the batsmen gave me those remarkable figures.

“It’s not a wicket I would like to take around the country with me as I have bowled on pitches which have offered me more. I think my confidence has grown with the ball and with leg-spin more of an art, I have started feeling confident in my ability.”

This is a good sign for the Dolphins knowing they have a wicket-taking leg-spinner in the ranks and if Smit can maintain his momentum — which includes a seven-wicket haul for the KZN amateur side when the Dolphins had a bye two weeks ago — the Knights batsmen could find themselves in a pickle and second spot could belong to the Dolphins.

Dolphins Squad: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Khaya Zondo, Cody Chetty, Sarel Erwee, Morne van Wyk (captain), Daryn Smit, Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Craig Alexander, Matthew Pillans, Daryn Dupavillon, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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