Cape Town - The Dolphins will welcome Kevin Pietersen back into their side for the RAM SLAM T20 playoff against the Cape Cobras at Kingsmead on Wednesday, but coach Lance Klusener is clear that Pietersen’s return is no guarantee of success.
Pietersen played the first half of the campaign for the Dolphins and was absent for the second, and the impact he made is easily measured.
Despite playing only five games, the former England star is still second on the run-scoring charts with 364 runs - just 61 behind Quinton de Kock, who played all 10 games for the Titans.
Perhaps more telling is the fact that the Dolphins won their first four games of the tournament, but once Pietersen departed they went four games without a win until finally beating the Cobras last Friday.
The hope for the Dolphins now is that they have turned the corner after their horror run.
“Holding fingers and thumbs, I’d like to think so,” said coach, Lance Klusener.
“The way we went about winning was good. The way we bowled was again excellent so I’m pretty happy.
“With Pietersen back we have some quality individuals. We just need to understand that just because he’s back doesn’t guarantee everything. That’s important.”
Barring the addition of Pietersen, the Dolphins haven’t made any changes to the squad that beat the Cobras, who have been dealt yet another blow.
Paul Adams’ side have endured a tournament filled with injuries and non-availabilities, and their poor luck continued when Justin Kemp went down with pneumonia.
Omphile Ramela has been brought into the squad in Kemp’s place, and Adams is confident that the Cobras will still have enough bowling options without the all-rounder, even if they will miss his experience.
A testing campaign saw the Cobras win five and lose five, and what will be most disconcerting is that they lost both of their games last week.
“The way we’ve played we do come into this game as underdogs,” reflected Adams.
“We scraped through this one, but that is in the past. It’s all one-off games where the best team on the day makes it through.
“We’re two games away, and we’ve got to make it click under pressure. We’ve identified a few things that have added to our inconsistency and we’ll keep working on that. The guys have just got to back themselves on the field.”
The playoff gets underway at 18:00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 2. Thursday has been set aside as a reserve day in the event of a washout.
Head-to-head - Dolphins v Cape Cobras
Matches played - 22
Dolphins win - 10
Cobras win - 11
Tie - 1