It’s make or break time for Dolphins

2014-11-21 00:00

IT doesn’t get any tougher for the Dolphins as they prepare for a week that will make or break them as far as the Ram Slam T20 Challenge goes. All clicks into motion tonight, when the Cobras visit Kingsmead, after which the Dolphins hit the road.

While they have no game this Sunday, they are at Willowmore Park (Benoni) on Wednesday to meet the Titans, Diamond Oval (Kimberley) on Friday to face the Knights and they start the third and final triple-header of the competition against the Lions in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Having played six matches, the Durban boys are effectively on the home straight, the business end of the competition. They are currently fourth on the log with 12 points and although they may feel they can carry one loss in their remaining fixtures, the harsh truth is that a full house of wins is really the only option.

That’s a tall order for a side who only have two wins — albeit with a bonus point both times — from six matches and have been blowing hot and cold all season. These are not easy games. Bar the Titans clash, they are against the top three sides, all in the running for a top three finish, which guarantees a place in the final for whoever is top of the log and a playoff between second and third to determine the other finalists.

There are expectations hanging over the Dolphins camp as they compete as Ram Slam Challenge defending champs, but at this stage, it counts for nothing.

“We can still be in with a shout depending on what happens in other matches,” said Dolphins coach Lance Klusener. “However, we have battled to string together a run of strong performances and now is the time. We cannot afford to continue our up and down, win one, lose one form.

“Time for talk is over. We need a string of wins to have a say in what goes down.”

After last Sunday’s collapse against the Knights — bowled out for 82 then saved by the rain — the coach emphasised the team needed to be smarter in summing up conditions, plus he expected improvement from everyone.

“We all need to come to the party. If the top order fails, then the middle order must do the job,” he said. “The talent and the players are there so there cannot be any excuses. Yes, the wheels will come off in this format, but we need to be smart when that happens.”

Captain Morné van Wyk was looking forward to having his international contingent back for next week’s games. David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Kyle Abbott and Imran Tahir would have returned from the Australian tour, although Tahir is injured.

“In the batting, David is huge and his role in the middle order has been recognised with him being unavailable. Sometimes his efforts are taken for granted and the players we have battle to accomplish what he does,” he said. “Kyle’s bowling up front and particularly at the death has been missed.”

Tonight’s match though is a hurdle the Dolphins have to get over with the young, balanced side they have. Jonathan Vandiar and Andile Phehlukwayo are available, while Sibonelo Makhanya and Divan van Wyk miss out. Cody Chetty still nurses an injury.

Tonight’s game starts at 6pm and is not televised.

Dolphins Squad

Morne van Wyk (capt), Cameron Delport, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Dwayne Bravo, Khaya Zondo, Robbie Frylinck, Andile Phehlukwayo, Prenelan Subrayen, Keshav Maharaj, Rabian Engelbrecht and Craig Alexander.



Lions 5 5 0 1 0 22 1.177

Knights 6 3 0 1 2 17 1.836

Cobras 5 3 1 0 1 15 0.105

Dolphins 6 2 3 0 1 12 0.721

Warriors 5 1 4 0 0 4 -1.901

Titans 5 0 5 0 0 0 -1.55

Tonight’s fixtures (all 6 pm)

Warriors v Knights (SS2)

Dolphins v Cape Cobras

Titans v Highveld Lions.

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