Dolphins take on Lions at the Oval without Miller

2013-10-26 00:00

AFTER another week on the road, the Dolphins return to their second home, Pietermaritzburg Oval, tomorrow for a Momentum One-Day Cup clash with the Lions.

Having met in the opening round of the competition at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, two weeks ago, the Dolphins will be keen to do the double after a six-wicket win on a difficult pitch with uneven bounce.

In that match, the Dolphins had David Miller to thank as he came to terms with the strip to compile a match-winning, undefeated 76, setting up the win with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (56).

This time around Miller is unavailable, having joined the Protea one-day squad in the UAE. Last time he took the Dolphins home against the Warriors earlier in the week in Port Elizabeth with a structured 96*.

While his loss could be crucial to the Dolphins’ progress in the competition, the shoe is on the other foot for the Lions. They have the evergreen Neil McKenzie back in the ranks. The senior statesman has already proven his worth in the competition this season. He saw the Lions home against the Cobras at Newlands with an unbeaten 73.

At the end of the day though, the weather in KwaZulu-Natal at this time of the year is always fickle. It tends to have the final say in most home fixtures for the Dolphins.

Last weekend at Kingsmead against the Titans was a case in point, and looking ahead, the weather man has predicted a 60% chance of rain tomorrow. However, Oval groundsman Jannie Vermaak has been hard at work this week, preparing what he expects to be a lively pitch, ideally suited to one-day cricket. “We have had plenty of rain in the last week, close to 100 mm, and that has watered the ground beautifully,” he said. “With some off-season preparation to the ground, the outfield should be smooth and fast, just what the batsmen ordered.

“The rain has been followed by hot days and the strip will show evidence of hairline cracks. Bowlers should be able to extract even bounce with plenty of carry and, weather permitting, we should be in for a cracking match.”

Tomorrow’s match starts at 10 am. Tickets are R30 for adults and R10 for pensioners and children.

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