DURBAN – The Dolphins will head to Bloemfontein this week, and the joint one-day champions will be ready for a massive scrap against the defending four-day title holders.
“We are expecting our toughest game of the season, in all formats,” Grant Morgan said of their opposition for tomorrow’s return to Sunfoil Series action.
The Knights, who host the Durbanites, have endured a tough season. On the field, they have been also-rans in the two limited-overs competitions. They were bottom of the standings in each, increasingly looking like a team playing as individuals.
Off the field, there are persistent rumours of power struggles and squabbling. In that light, then, it is no surprise that they find themselves in turmoil.
Morgan, however, is well aware that they will meet a team whose pride has been dented, and who want to finish the season off accordingly.
In the four-day table, the Knights lie in second place, still handily placed to defend their title from last year.
“They finished sixth and sixth in the two competitions so far, but I don’t think they deserved that,” Morgan commented. “They have played better than that, and we are bracing ourselves for a massive fight.”
Morgan himself is expecting his men to put the success of the One-Day Cup behind them, and prove that they are hungry for much more.
“The next five matches are a huge test for us. They will say a lot about whether we want to build on what we achieved, and create a dynasty,” he challenged.
Morgan, being Morgan, has already done the permutations, and knows his team must start producing results instead of stalemates, to have any chance of securing a season double.
The Dolphins played out five draws in the beginning of the season, mostly because of bad weather hampering their best-laid plans. That leaves them in fifth place on a very congested table, but their coach is adamant that the door is still open.
“I reckon we will need to get to about 164 points to win the title,” Morgan said.
That is not a random number, either. That is based on the Dolphins having to play positive cricket, and chasing the wins that eluded them in the first round of fixtures.
“We will need to secure about 100 points in our next five games. We will have to play positive cricket to do that,” Morgan maintained.
For that to happen, the Durbanites will have to take wickets and bowl teams out. They have Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj in tow for now, and his form will be vital to the cause.
Where the Dolphins have come short is in the pure pace ranks. There is, however, positive news on that front.
Rabian Engelbrecht has apparently found his mongrel again, bowling with hostility in practice.
Meanwhile, long-term absentee Daryn Dupavillon is getting closer and closer to a return to franchise action.
That imminent injection of speed bodes well for a massive last month of action for the Dolphins.