Klusener breathes easy asKP returns to the fray

2015-12-10 06:00
The return of Kevin Pietersen provides the Sunfoil Dolphins with a massive boost for their Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-final match against the Cobras in Durban this evening.

The return of Kevin Pietersen provides the Sunfoil Dolphins with a massive boost for their Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-final match against the Cobras in Durban this evening.

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KEVIN Pietersen’s return this week will boost the Dolphins’ hopes of reclaiming the Ram Slam T20 Challenge title they won two seasons ago.

KP’s return to Durban comes at the perfect time for Lance Klusener’s team as they take on the Cape Cobras in Durban on Saturday for a place in final against the Titans in Pretoria.

In Pietersen’s absence, the Dolphins’ batting stuttered until their most recent outing, ironically against the Cobras in Durban last Friday, when they scored a convincing eight-wicket win with eight balls to spare after chasing down the visitors’ 142 for 7.

The victory secured them a home semi-final and another showdown with the Cobras.

Despite playing only five innings in the Ram Slam T20, Pietersen is the second highest run scorer in the competition, having struck two centuries and two fifties at an average of 121,33 and with an amazing strike rate of 172,51.

No other player has come close to emulating those performances this season.

His return had Dolphins coach Klusener excited at a press conference yesterday afternoon, even though it inevitably meant having to change his team line-up. “It’s tough. It means someone that has played a role in a couple of other games is going to have to sit out, but let’s not forget Kevin’s role in those five games. It is not just about someone coming in. I think Kevin has really deserved and earned his place in this competition.

“It is tough for somebody, but at the same time we are gaining a world class player, which is good for us,” he said.

While last Friday’s victory was surprisingly one-sided, Klusener is expecting a far stiffer examination from the Cobras in today’s clash. “They’re an extremely good team, and I thought they were maybe just a little bit underprepared in the last game, but they’re a quality team. I think they are going to be a lot better prepared for us tomorrow. We’re expecting a different team tomorrow,” he said.

“We’re expecting a much tougher game. There’s a lot of experience [in their team] and I know they hurt badly when they don’t win.

“Today I think it is going to be a little bit of a different opposition for us. We are going to have to hit the ground running from early, batting or bowling. That first half-an-hour is extremely important for us.”

Klusener said the Dolphins would be focusing on some of the finer details in preparation for the visit of the 2014/15 Ram Slam T20 Challenge winners. “It is just about making sure that we pitch up tomorrow and just touch up a couple of small things in the nets. That’s making sure that everybody is getting what they need, bowlers getting what they need, so that we can hopefully hit the ground fresh tomorrow. That, for me, is important, especially at this late stage of the competition.”

The match at Kingsmead starts at 6 pm.

Sunfoil Dolphins squad: Morné van Wyk (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Cameron Delport, Rabian Engelbrecht, Keshav Maharaj, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Ayavuya Myoli, Kyle Nipper, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kevin Pietersen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Jonathan Vandiar, Khaya­ Zondo.

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