Durban - The Dolphins have welcomed Imran Tahir back into their 12-man squad for this week’s Sunfoil Series fourth round clash against the Knights (October 27-30) at Kingsmead, the Durban outfit’s first home game of the season.
Having started the season strongly with victories over the Warriors and the Highveld Lions respectively, the Dolphins’ third consecutive away game saw them battle against the competition’s defending champions, the Titans, at SuperSport Park Centurion last week.
The KZN franchise will be looking for a turnaround performance against the men from Bloemfontein this week as they look to get their first half of the four-day campaign back on track.
“It’s great for us to have Imran again and when a guy like Immy Tahir does come into the mix, you need to make full use of that,” Dolphins head coach Grant Morgan said
“He is the best one day spinner in the world and a guy of his reputation and his skill is going to ask a lot of questions, especially at this level.
“Hopefully he can put some doubt in the minds of the opposition just by his sheer presence alone,” he adds.
Individual brilliance from the likes of Daryn Smit (121 against the Warriors), Keshav Maharaj (13-wicket match haul in the same game) and Robbie Frylinck (14-wicket match haul against the Lions) all played pivotal roles in the team’s opening two results.
While he may not have single-handedly earned his team any results thus far, Khaya Zondo can too be well pleased with his start to the 2016/17 campaign having been the stand-out performer in the Dolphins top seven to date.
The 26 year-old’s consistency in the Dolphins middle order has seen him make a telling contribution of 276 runs, including three half centuries - the third being his first innings effort of 62 not out against the Titans last week - from just five innings at an average of 69.00.
The former South African ‘A’ batsman’s reliability has seen him play vital roles in all three of the Dolphins’ outings thus far this season and Zondo is eager to continue his good run this week against the Knights.
“I’m just trying to improve every single game, contribute to the team and make sure I play my part,” explained Zondo. “Last season I wasn’t at my best so it has been good to contribute.”
“If the team is a vehicle then in this vehicle, if I’m the clutch, then I’m going to be the best clutch I can be.
“I’m not going to worry about what the steering wheel is doing or what the accelerator is doing, I’m just going to do the job of the clutch and ensure that I’m knuckling down that function of the team properly,” he adds.
With two wins and a draw to their name already, the table-topping Knights will be a tough encounter but Morgan believes the Dolphins have what it takes to put in a strong showing on home turf.
“We highly respect their team as a whole but we also respect ourselves,” explains Morgan.
“If you look at the stats, their danger does probably come in the seam attack; the seamers have done a helluva job for them, but we don’t fear their seam attack.
“If we can set up a nice batting platform and bowl with the same kind of plans that we had in our first two games where our nagging attack can make them really work hard, and then we can use Immy Tahir as we want to use him, then they’re going to have to be at their best to nullify us.”
Morne van Wyk (captain), Craig Alexander, Sarel Erwee, Robbie Frylinck, Imraan Khan, Senuran Muthusamy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Mthokozisi Shezi, Daryn Smit, Imran Tahir, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo