Dolphins have their work cut out with three games

2013-10-22 00:00

A TOUGH week beckons for the Dolphins as they play three Momentum One-Day Cup matches, two on the road, before hosting the Lions at Pietermaritzburg Oval on Sunday.

Tomorrow, they are at St George’s Park to meet the table-topping Warriors before heading for Paarl to face the Cobras on Friday.

Currently second in the table with two wins from three matches, the Dolphins shared the points with the Titans on Sunday, in a match at Kingsmead which was ruined by rain.

For once though, it was felt the rain saved the home side as the Titans had come out firing in pursuit of the 213 victory target, reaching 78-1 in 13.1 overs before being thwarted.

Earlier, the Dolphins had recovered well to reach 212-7, thanks to a domestic one-day record undefeated eighth-wicket partnership of 90 between Daryn Smit (47*) and Kyle Abbott (45*).

However, of concern was the top order collapse, the Dolphins 84-6 at one stage. To date, the batsmen have failed to click at the top of the innings, other than captain Morné van Wyk’s hundred against the Knights on Friday.

“It is a worry that we are not getting decent starts in our innings, but we have to show faith with the players. We are close to having the right combinations going into a vitally important week for us,” said coach Lance Klusener.

However, Klusener was heartened that the team’s two wins had been achieved away from home and praised the depth in the team, where players have stepped up to the plate to rescue dire situations and add respectability to the final total.

“Our opening batsmen have had to deal with some tricky pitches, Potch in particular bouncing all over the place in our first game against the Lions,” he said. “But, we have not given up or capitulated. It’s been heartening to see the senior players play for the badge and refuse to lie down, making a game of it and standing up to the opposition.”

One player who stood tall against the Titans was Abbott, coming in at nine and playing an innings of deft touches mixed with brute force.

“For once it was great to be able to build an innings and spend time in the middle,” he said. “Normally I have to throw caution to the wind and scramble whatever runs I can. Somehow, I always manage to dig deep against the Titans and make them work for my wicket.”

So buoyed was Abbott by his innings, he told his team-mates later that “they must not think it’s all over when I come to bat”.

Abbott has been working on his batting since Graham Ford was Dolphins coach, specialising in power hitting down the ground. This was clearly evident against the Titans and by his own admission, he has a “raging batting talent” waiting to be unleashed.

What bowling he did have against the Titans — three overs for 23 runs — was a little uncharacteristic, as he tended to drop a little short. “I just never hit my straps, but felt I had good rhythm. My previous two matches were good and it’s just how things go. That was then and it’s time to look ahead and take on what this week offers,” he said.

Dolphins squad:

Morné van Wyk (captain), Jonathan Vandiar, Khaya Zondo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, David Miller, Cody Chetty, Craig Alexander, Yusuf Abdullah, Kyle Abbott, Robbie Frylinck, Daryn Smit, Keshav Maharaj, Cameron Delport.

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