DURBAN - If the weather holds off, the Dolphins and the Lions will square off in the latest round of the Sunfoil Series in Maritzburg on Friday, with the home side wary of the firepower that the visitors will bring to the table.
“The Lions are going to be a tough challenge. They have a leader who lives and breathes Johannesburg and the Lions in Stephen Cook, and they are a strong all-round side that is talented across the board from their bowlers to their batters,” Dolphins coach Grant Morgan warned.
If there is a weakness in the current Dolphins team, it is a lack serious pace with the new ball. The likes of Robbie Frylinck and Athi Maposa hit good lengths, but they are unlikely to make any batsmen jump about.
The Maritzburg Oval has lost much of its pace in recent years, and batsmen who get in often settle for a long time.
“They bat very deep, and it looks like young (Wiaan) Mulder is the final piece of their puzzle. With all of their bowling and batting options, they become a really tough side to beat,” Morgan noted.
The Dolphins are without homeboy Sarel Erwee, who is in France for a wedding, but they do welcome Kolpak player Dane Vilas into the fold.
KZN Inland paceman Kerwi Mungroo is also in the squad, given his good form and familiarity with the conditions up the N3.
There are familiar faces within the Lions’ camp, too, for the Durbanites. Speedster Craig Alexander only left at the end of last season, while Ayavuya Myoli’s formative years were at Kingsmead.
The men from Gauteng have a strong look about them generally, with Proteas Dwaine Pretorius, Reeza Hendricks, Mangaliso Mosehle and Aaron Phangiso all bringing in a wealth of experience.
Coach Geoffrey Toyana said that his side was actually looking forward to the trip, as they have enjoyed success in the capital city of KZN.
“Now we head to Pietermaritzburg, a venue we’ve played well in over the years and the boys are looking forward to it. I think it’s key that we keep our bowlers fresh because they’re the ones that have really toiled so far this season. But they are all are fit and raring to go against a very good Dolphins team,” Toyana enthused.
Like Morgan, the Lions minder was full of respect for the Dolphins.
“They play some good cricket at home and have some dangerous players, like a Robbie Frylinck, who has bowled really well against us in the past. So we’ll have to be watchful against those dangerous players,” he said.
The Dolphins have already been hampered by bad weather this season, but, if the elements play ball, it promises to be an intriguing battle in Maritzburg.