Dolphins, Titans seek first wins of 4-day campaign

Imraan Khan (Gallo Images)
Imraan Khan (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Assistant coach Imraan Khan says the Dolphins are hurting after another disappointing 4-Day Domestic Series outing this past week but says they can make up for it when they welcome champions the Titans to Durban from Monday.

The game at Kingsmead is the last one of the first round and the hosts will be desperate for some sort of positive result after suffering successive losses in the last two rounds.

They lost from a winning position against the Warriors at home last week and then succumbed to the log-leading Cape Cobras most recently, a match in which some indifferent batting cost them.

Khan believes the confidence in the squad remains positive and is hopeful of a turnaround in the next few days.

"The connection in the group is very good," he said. "The spirit is still excellent. It's just little things at crucial times.

"We batted well in the second innings in Cape Town, but we let ourselves down in the first innings. We were well placed at 120 for three and then lost the last seven wickets for 100 runs.

"So, the boys are trying hard. They're doing a lot of good stuff in the games. It's just that we're losing small sectors really badly, so we've got to turn it around and finish with a strong performance next week. Hopefully that will carry us through to the second half of the campaign."

The Titans themselves have not enjoyed the best of campaigns. Along with the Dolphins, the pair are the only two teams yet to taste victory in 2018/19.

International call-ups and injuries have also meant that Mark Boucher has had to field several unfamiliar faces - the likes of Neil Brand, Sizwe Masondo, Gionne Koopman, Clayton August and Matthew Arnold all recently featuring.

But Khan is not fooled by the rookies being fielded by the champions.

"The young players are all talented and they've got some real quality ones as well," he added. "Guys like Theunis (de Bruyn), Dean Elgar, Shaun von Berg, so they’re a quality cricket team and the defending champions, so they'll obviously want to put in a good showing before the break and try to win at least one game, so we’ll have to be at our best."

Titans assistant coach Mandla Mashimbyi admits they haven't been at their best this term, but says there were plenty of positives to build on from their high-scoring draw with the Highveld Lions in Potch this past week.

"The form of Dean Elgar and the way the bowlers are starting to hit their straps are just some of the things we can use as motivation going to Durban," he said.

The draw came on the back of a disappointing loss to the Cobras the previous week - a result that left them with plenty of work to do if they want to retain their title this year.

"Big ups to the Cobras, they've been fantastic this season," Mashimbyi added. "But the focus for us is on how we play and we've got our focus areas to concentrate on to try and make sure we get a win in round five.

"As I said, there were so many positives from Potch and we just need to build around those things, not worry about the opposition too much, and try to get ourselves back on track again."

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