Dolphins look to build on strong run at home when they face Lions

2010-10-21 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins are at “headquarters” today as they face the Highveld Lions in their latest SuperSport Series assignment at the Wanderers.

The Dolphins, buoyed by a strong fortnight of back-to-back home matches, will be looking to build on their excellent win over the Titans last week.

“The guys have started much better than I thought, but it’s important to keep the momentum going,” coach Graham Ford said earlier this week.

The Dolphins have got most of the basics right, but their fielding has been increasingly sloppy, and the number of catches that they have dropped is an issue of growing concern for a side that goes into today’s match effectively a bowler light.

Jon Kent stayed in Durban for personal reasons, and the all-rounder has been replaced by KZN Inland batting specialist Glen Addicott, who makes his bow at franchise level.

This means there will be an even bigger weight on the shoulders of pace spearhead Quinton Friend, and, of course, the spin king, Imran Tahir.

Both have already bowled well over 100 overs in the first three matches of the season, and Tahir has said that he is nursing a few niggles.

“I am a bit sore from a long season in England as well, but as long as I am taking wickets, I will be happy to bowl,” he said cheerfully this week.

His importance to the success of the side now goes without saying, but Kent’s absence may mean that the generally attacking Tahir may have to be the one to stem the tide if the Lions’ strong middle order gets going.

The likes of Alviro Petersen, Jonathan Vandiar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld thrive on scoring quickly to transfer pressure to the bowlers, and the Dolphins may yet be tempted to play Mthokozisi Shezi and leave out a batsman this morning.

The Lions, for their part, have been frustrated by the weather lately, and coach Dave Nosworthy said the elements have definitely had an impact on their progress so far.

“I really think the guys have played some really good cricket and hopefully the weather gods will do their part this weekend,” he said yesterday.

Captain Petersen, fresh off being named as one of the country’s five best players from last season — along with keeper Thami Tsolekile — is keen to get his side back on winning terms.

“In our last three games, we might have been a bit up and down, but it was great to see that the fighting spirit remained in the team — whether it was to win a game or save it,” he reflected.

“Hopefully we can bring it all together this weekend as the Wanderers always gives us the opportunity to play winning cricket,” Petersen added.

The Dolphins, without the sage offerings of a certain ‘KP’ at mid-off, have another debutant to go with Addicott in Ravi Bopara.

The stylish Englishman will be looking to make an immediate impact, as the Dolphins look to build on an encouraging past few weeks.


Lions: Alviro Petersen, Craig Alexander, Stephen Cook, Zander de Bruyn, Dale Deeb, Cliffe Deacon, Robbie Frylink, Paul Harris, Neil McKenzie, Ethan O’Reilly Thami Tsolekile, Aaron Phangiso, Jonathan Vandiar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

Dolphins: Imraan Khan (Captain),Divan van Wyk, Bradley Moses, Ravi Bopara, Ahmed Amla, Daryn Smit, Glen Addicott, Kyle Abbott, Quinton Friend, Imran Tahir, Mthokozisi Shezi and Devon Conway.


Playing today until Sunday: Warriors v Cape Cobras (Buffalo Park), Knights v Titans (De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley), Highveld Lions v Dolphins (Wanderers)

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