Dolphins hope for a strong finish to campaign

2014-11-26 00:00

AS defending Ram Slam T20 Challenge champions, the Dolphins would like nothing better than to finish off their campaign with a string of wins.

They have three matches ­remaining — tonight against the Titans in Benoni, Friday in ­Kimberley against the Knights and Sunday against the Lions in a triple-header in Bloemfontein.

Having played seven matches to date, they lie fourth in the ­table with 12 points, gleaned from bonus point wins against the Warriors and Titans in ­Durban and sharing the spoils with the Knights.

Four losses does not make ­decent reading for the champions and with a possible 12 points still available, they will need a full house to harbour any thoughts of repeating last season’s­ ­heroics.

It’s been tough going for the team, the campaign stuttering and floundering at the best of times. Those two wins gave a glimpse of what can be produced on the day, but sadly the rest has been a hit-and-miss affair, with the misses way ahead in the race.

“We have battled to win matches on the trot,” said coach Lance Klusener. “This week gives us that opportunity and we cannot afford to let things slip. We are at the business end of the competition and if we want to qualify for the play-off by finishing second or third on the log, this is the time.”

Having not yet won a match on the road in the competition, the odds are stacked against a side who have, at times, failed to grasp the finer points of the game.

“This format of the game is tough to play. Do you attack up front and hope it comes off in the six-over powerplay or is it better to play safe first and cut loose later?” said Dolphins ­captain Morné van Wyk.

Too often, the Dolphins have adopted the aggressive ­approach from the first ball that, in recent matches, has been a death knell.

Yet there appears no cause for alarm in the camp.

“We are practising hard and the guys are giving their all in the nets and in the field drills,” said Van Wyk. “They know their roles in the team and are always working on the skills they offer. We are not worried about the opposition but are more focused on our own game and delivering where it counts.”

That moment has arrived and after two matches where the Dolphins batting in particular has looked woeful, it’s time to deliver.

“We cannot afford to reflect on last season and have an ­attitude of because we are the champions, we can be complacent and it will all fall into place for us,” said Van Wyk.

“Now more than ever, we need focus and application, blended with the mentality and attitude needed to perform properly and get the desired ­results.”

Protea players David Miller, Kyle Abbott and Ryan McLaren (Imran Tahir is injured) will be available for selection for Sunday’s match against the Lions and any play-off fixture if the Dolphins qualify.

Opening batsman Cameron Delport is left out the side, replaced by the provincial side’s Chad Bowes and Brandon Scullard in for Rabian Engelbrecht.

Bowes had a solid List A ­season last time round for his side but it’s no certainty he will open the innings with Van Wyk.

Tonight’s game is telecast on SS2 from 5.45 pm.

Dolphins Squad (for Titans and Knights): Morné van Wyk (captain), Jonathan Vandiar, Cody Chetty, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo, Dwayne Bravo, Robbie Frylinck, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keeshav Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen, Craig Alexander, Chad Bowes, Brandon Scullard, Mbasa Gqadushe (non-travelling reserve).



Cobras 7 5 1 0 1 24 0.874

Lions 7 5 2 0 0 22 0.069

Knights 7 3 2 0 2 17 1.39

Dolphins 7 2 4 0 1 12 0.554

Warriors 7 2 4 1 0 11 -1.428

Titans 7 1 5 1 0 7 -1.038

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