Frustrating is the only word

2012-11-26 00:00

THE Dolphins’ Momentum One-Day Cup campaign has now become one of permutations and relying on other teams to perhaps secure them a spot in the play-offs with only two matches remaining.

Their clash against the Knights at Pietermaritzburg Oval was abandoned without a ball bowled as persistent rain resulted in a wet outfield unsuitable for play. There was only cricketer at the Oval with reason to smile yesterday and that was Knights all-rounder Ryan McLaren who had only just heard of his call-up to join the injury-hit Proteas in Australia.

Rain has been the bugbear, the silent killer for Daryn Smit and his men as three of the scheduled eight matches have been abandoned, with points shared and valuable playing time forfeited.

This week, two matches — against the Lions at Kingsmead on Wednesday and the yesterday — were called off without a ball being bowled.

It’s been frustrating and a stop-start journey in the competition for the Dolphins. A two-match winning streak after beating the Knights in Bloemfontein and the Titans in Durban, was washed away by Wednesday’s rain and, with the Lions having lost their previous match, it was a fair bet to back the Dolphins for a win, such was their confidence.

The disruptions have clearly had a say in how the Dolphins have performed through the competition, with momentum being thwarted whenever confidence and belief has been high. A win against the Lions could have kept the adrenaline pumping going into Friday’s showdown against the Cobras in Cape Town but instead, a dismal top order batting collapse saw the Dolphins concede a 55-run defeat, despite Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s splendid century.

Slipping to fourth in the table with 14 points from a possible eight matches, the two remaining games against the Titans at Centurion on Friday and the Warriors in East London on December 3 are hugely important if the Dolphins are going to have a say in the final charge down the home straight and contend for a podium finish as the business end of the competition approaches. Although only two points behind the second-placed Knights, victory in both games without bonus points will see the Dolphins end on 22 points. They need the Knights and third-placed Cobras, also on 14 points, to slip up in their final fixtures to allow them to bag a play-off spot.

Dolphins Skipper Daryn Smit has sounded like a stuck record lamenting on what could have been for his team. “Frustrating is the only word we can use to describe the situation. What can we do? It’s out our hands and we cannot control the weather. It just disrupts our work and preparation and squashes our ambitions. While the Lions are comfortably on top of the log, there is a bun fight for the remaining few spots and our goal is to be there come the end of the round of home and away fixtures. Playing our last two games away has given us confidence that the rain should give us a break. Playing at home has been a disaster.”

Perhaps, after all the unwelcome rain, the Dolphins should change their name to something not associated with water.

Any takers for the Camels, the Nomads, or perhaps even the Desert Rats?

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