Dolphins to reboot in four-day Lions clash

2015-02-18 00:00

WITH just the four-day series remaining on the domestic cricket scene, it’s time for the Dolphins to reboot and charge their batteries for their five remaining fixtures.

Having relinquished their domestic T20 title and bowing out of the One Day Cup 50-over competition in the play-off, it’s been a season of what could have been. One bad day at the office, at the wrong time, has cost the Dolphins dearly and it appears the trophy cabinet will remain bare for this season at least.

They can take heart that they have been competitive this season and talk around the camp was the strong pool of depth the franchise boasted. Besides a core group of players vital to the cause, there has always been room to allow younger exponents an opportunity, a taste of big league cricket.

Again, sometimes it has worked and other times it has left media and spectators scratching their heads in bewilderment through the sheer frustration of it all.

But the cricket circus rolls on and for many players, four-day cricket is the real deal. They play in white clothing and the challenge of out-playing, out-thinking and exploiting the opposition’s weaknesses is good enough reason to play the game.

With a game in hand over most of the franchises, the Dolphins are currently fourth on the four-day log with 48,14 points after four matches. This from having played four, won two, lost one and drawn one. It’s not a bad showing so far and the chance to reel off five matches in as many weeks should, barring fatigue, get them in the zone and focused to glean as many points as possible.

Where they will end up in the table is anyone’s guess at this stage and of course, the fickle KZN weather always hangs over their heads.

First up though is the Lions at the Wanderers starting tomorrow. The Lions top the four-day standings with 68,84 points from five matches and a rich haul of points by the Dolphins in this clash will benefit not just them, but fellow franchises as well.

The two sides have not met over four days this season and the match should bring all the toughness, no-holds barred nature of the longer version of the game to the fore.

Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk, while disappointed at the team’s showing in the limited overs competitions, believes his men can pick themselves up and tune in to the responsibilities that lie ahead.

“While we learn from the past, we cannot keep looking behind us and we change gear in more ways than one as we wind down the season,” he said. “It’s a different game altogether now, different tactics, more attrition and some other players coming back into the set up.”

Van Wyk said the Dolphins needed to be smart and play the right players in the coming weeks.

“Many of our One-Day specialists will make way for the return of our grafters, the guys who can bat for a long time and bowl lengthy spells,” he said. “It’s really a new team with new energy which we must keep going until the end of March.”

Divan van Wyk and the in-form Imraan Khan, the latter coming off the back of successive four-day hundreds at the top of the order, will obviously be back in their usual opening slots, with Vaughn van Jaarsveld anchoring the middle order.

Coach Lance Klusener has also included some KZN Inland players in the mix — bowlers Graham Hume and Matthew Pillans playing in the last four-day clash against the Knights in Kimberley — and obviously the nature of the Wanderers wicket will determine the final squad.

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