Refreshed Dolphins to face rivals Cobras in the Cape

2014-02-20 00:00

BOLAND Park, Paarl, hosts the pick of the Sunfoil Four Day Series clashes starting today, when the Dolphins renew their rivalry with the Cobras.

The Cape has been a happy hunting ground for the Dolphins this season, none more so when they claimed the Ram Slam T20 trophy with a two-run win against the Cobras at Newlands.

Since then, the Dolphins have maintained their winning ways, beating the Warriors in Durban last week as the second round of four-day matches got underway, finding themselves second in the standings to today’s opponents.

When the two sides met earlier in the season, the Dolphins were blown away in Pietermaritzburg by an innings and 98 runs in two-and-a-half days, bowled out for 88 in their first innings. This time around, it’s a more refreshed, polished and determined side that travels to the Cape.

Dolphins skipper Morne van Wyk has said all season that his side needs to play proper cricket, pitch up every day and play to it’s strengths. It looks as if the plan is coming together.

“We had a great win against the Warriors last week, playing the cricket we know we are capable of,” he said. “It’s back to start again and it’s a whole new game where we have to see what conditions come our way and what pitch has been prepared.”

No doubt, the Dolphins will be buoyed by the success of teenager Daryn Dupavillon, the right-arm fast bowler taking seven wickets in his debut match last week. He is included in the squad for today’s match and could again prove the trump card in the Dolphins attack.

However, Cobras coach Paul Adams is more focused on his spinning options, especially after the Dolphins were found wanting against the slower bowlers in Pietermaritzburg.

“We will seriously look at our spinning options once we have seen the wicket, but we do expect a turning track to have been prepared,” Adams said.

Leg spinner Daryn Smit and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj could come into their own on such a wicket, Maharaj riding high after match figures of 9-99 against the Warriors.

But, it’s the Dolphins batting which has been consistent of late, with the top six all cashing in, thereby enabling the bowlers to have something to defend.

Opener Divan van Wyk has centuries in the last two four-day matches, while David Miller, recently offered a contract by Cricket South Africa, has knocked up 284 runs in his last three innings in this format (109, 104 v Lions; 71 v Warriors) at an average of 94,66.

It is a marked improvement on his record in the longer version of the game and to think he was dropped and asked to play in the three-day side last season due to an average of under 20 at four-day level … Thankfully it’s a distant memory.

“I’ve worked on my game in all formats this time around, playing as much cricket as I can. Obviously, the four-day game is where Test cricketers come from and that is my immediate ambition,” said Miller.

He’s on track, with Dolphins coach Lance Klusener saying earlier in the week Miller could emulate Australia’s David Warner by making it into the Test arena on the back of his performances for the Proteas in the shorter formats of the game.

An IPL contract with the Kings XI Punjab, plus a stint with Yorkshire have all added to Miller’s cricket acumen and at 24, the cricket world is his oyster.

Over the next four days, the Dolphins will look to get a tight grip on affairs in Paarl and glean a healthy haul of points in what could prove a vital match in determining the domestic four day champions.

In other matches, the Knights host the Warriors in Bloemfontein and the Lions entertain the Titans at the Wanderers.

Dolphins Squad: Divan van Wyk, Imraan Khan, Khaya Zondo, Cody Chetty, David Miller, Morne van Wyk (captain), Daryn Smit, Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Craig Alexander, Mthokozisi Shezi and Daryn Dupavillion.

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