Dolphins’ last chance set to be a nail-biting clash – if the weather clears

2009-01-01 00:00

IF today’s gloomy weather forecast does not come true, KZN Dolphins fans should be in for a roller-coaster ride in the MTN Domestic Championship day/night match against the Northern Titans in Durban.

This televised Kingsmead clash is vital to the Dolphins, with victory against the second-placed Titans, who are already through to the semi-finals, assuring the Durban-based side of a last-four spot as well.

The loss of top all-rounder Johann Louw (groin) is a blow, but Dolphins captain Ahmed Amla, who has been a consistent run-getter over the last few seasons, told The Witness this week that Imraan Khan’s rich vein of form is sure to permeate through to explosive fellow opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya.

“Sunny and H.D. [Ackerman] are class acts and their dedication suggests the rough patches they have been going through will end soon,” Amla said.

As to his own success, Amla was measured: “As you gain experience you figure out what works for you, and I am enjoying batting, but my primary focus has been more on the team dynamic.”

Pietermaritzburg-based Dolphins supporters will also be holding thumbs for Standard Cricket Club’s Morne van Vuuren. Fellow left-arm spinner and renowned master-blaster Jayasuriya’s presence has stymied Van Vuuren’s chances in terms of the balance of the side, and if the weather holds the Pietermaritzburg all-rounder might get an opportunity to parade his skills at last.

The Titans have a strong batting line-up, while on the bowling front their attack has an enviable supply of quality pace, seam and spin, and it is here where the match could be decided.

On the other hand, the Dolphins bowlers will probably also be key to the outcome. Their attack has lacked penetration more often than not. Extras, too, have been their nemesis at times, and Amla plus coach Yashin Ebrahim will be emphasising an improvement from their front men.

Let’s just hope the rain stays away.


Dolphins (from): Imraan Khan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ahmed Amla (capt), H.D. Ackerman, Jon Kent, Pierre de Bruyn, Daryn Smit, Morne van Vuuren, Quinton Friend, Yusuf Abdullah, Ugasen Govender, Saidi Mlongo.

Titans (from): Pierre Joubert (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Francois du Plessis, Blake Snijman, Heino Kuhn, Gulam Bodi, Basheer Walters, Imran Tahir, Martin van Jaarsveld, Ethy Mbhalati, Roelof van der Merwe, David Wiese, Mandla Mashimbyi.

TV: SuperSport 2 and CSN from 4 pm.

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