Momentum is key as Dolphins face Lions

2014-10-15 00:00

THE Dolphins are looking to build on their impressive start to the Momentum One-Day Cup when they host the Highveld Lions at Kingsmead today.

A phenomenal unbeaten century from captain and opener Morné van Wyk secured victory for the Durban lads over the Titans in Friday night’s tournament opener, but there is little time to bask in that glory with the Lions arriving on the east coast with their own tails up after victory against the Warriors in the opening round.

The Dolphins had shipped a mammoth 340 after bowling first against the Titans, and their unlikely target was then reduced to 301 in 42 overs after their familiar friends Duckworth and Lewis had played their part. Van Wyk stole the show, his perfectly constructed 112* coming off 112 balls with support from Vaughan van Jaarsevld (62) and Khaya Zondo (32) sealing the win with five balls to spare.

“What is exciting for me is that it probably wasn’t our best outing as a unit [against the Titans],” Van Wyk said yesterday. “We had fielding issues and our attention to detail [bowling] wasn’t that good. If we can improve on that we’ll be even better tomorrow [today] and if we play our best game then we have a very good chance of winning.”

Van Wyk added that while his side’s batting performance was “satisfying”, it was also “history”.

“We need to pitch up again tomorrow [today] and do it again,” he said.

After having been humbled at the Champions League T20 in India, losing all four of their pool matches on their way to the earliest of exits, Van Wyk said the Dolphins had returned to South Africa a stronger unit.

“India was probably the best pre-season we could have had,” said Van Wyk. “It was a steep learning curve and it was good to come back to conditions that we know after that.”

The Lions started their campaign with a Lonwabo Tsotsobe-inspired win on Sunday. Though they will be without opener Quinton de Kock and spinner Aaron Phangiso tonight — the pair are on Proteas duty — the Johannesburg-based franchise still offers plenty. Seasoned veteran Neil McKenzie was at his best on Sunday — his classy 73 setting the tone while and explosive half-century from wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile gave the Lions 291 to play with. The destructive Tsotsobe (5/40) did the rest, ensuring that the Warriors fell 20 runs short.

“They [Lions] are a good side,” acknowledged Van Wyk. “But every team in this competition is strong and can beat anybody.

“It is a long competition — we’re talking about 10 games. We want to generate momentum as soon as possible. Points on the table early on are invaluable.”

The Dolphins go into the match with their four Proteas — David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Imran Tahir and Kyle Abbott.

The first ball will be bowled at 3 pm this afternoon.

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