CAPE TOWN - When Cape Cobras stand-in captain Rory Kleinveldt was asked how his team planned to beat the Dolphins in Wednesday's Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final at Newlands, the answer was pretty straightforward - attack the visitors’ top-order.
The Dolphins batting unit has been their core strength in the competition thus far. Experienced campaigners like Dane Vilas and Vaughn van Jaarsveld have led the way with support from openers Sarel Erwee and Morne van Wyk at crucial junctures of the campaign.
However, runs certainly won’t be freely available at Newlands when the Cobras are in the field. The home side have off-set the loss of their captain JP Duminy with the return of Vernon Philander. The Proteas Test new-ball bowler has been in supreme form of late, and is coming off yet another Man of the Series performance against India.
The entire Cobras attack has been superb throughout the competition. Led by the new-ball pairing of Kleinveldt and Dane Paterson, the Cobras have owned the first 10 power-play overs. Paterson will most likely drop down to first-change due to Philander’s return, but that strengthens the Cobras’ bowling unit even more during the middle overs.
First-change seamer Mthiwekhaya Nabe has been a revelation this season, having claimed 14 wickets in the competition already while left-arm spinner George Linde has also bagged 14 scalps.
“I think we have gone nicely with the ball this summer. I think it just comes down now to us executing our skills again, especially under pressure in a big semi-final. We simply need to fall back on what we have been doing.
“We also have Vern back so we’ll throw the new ball to obviously one of the best bowlers in the world. Vern is raring to go and will take the new ball with myself. He’s come off some really good form against India and obviously loves bowling at Newlands and is always a massive boost to us to have him back for a semi-final.
“The Dolphins’ top-four has been pretty good for them this summer. For us it is all about knocking them over and putting them under pressure early. I think it is pretty much our bowlers against their batsmen. It is going to be a good game,” said Kleinveldt.
For all the capabilities of Van Jaarsveld, Van Wyk and Erwee, the prized wicket for the Cobras will be that of Vilas. There are few batsmen on either side that know the Newlands surface like the Dolphins’ wicketkeeper, after his stint playing for the Cobras until last season.
Vilas is at the top of his game too, having struck a brilliant 103 off just 85 balls last Friday against the Titans at SuperSport Park. The former Proteas Test gloveman has a tendency to keep his best performances for the Cobras too as he lashed 91 off only 68 balls against his former team in the opening round of this competition.
“We all know Dane is an exciting, free-scoring player... But we haven’t planned anything special... it’s all about executing our plans under pressure,” Kleinveldt added.