DURBAN –The Dolphins head into a crucial weekend of Momentum One-Day Cup cricket, as they play two matches at home that could seal their semi-final plans if they can maintain the form that they have shown recently.
Coach Grant Morgan has seen his side turn a corner, on and off the field, one which he says can be a catalyst for big things in the next few months.
“There have been a couple firsts in my time at the Dolphins recently,” the coach enthused.”It’s the first time we have won more games than we have lost and it’s the first time I have this many fit players to select from. Lwandiswa Zuma is the one player that is on his way back and unfortunately Cody (Chetty) is out, but it’s our highest count of fit players,” he said of his resources.
To add to the mix, the Dolphins have Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo back in tow for the weekend, and he will want to shake off the rust and get into some form ahead of a one-day series against the Indians.
Phehlukwayo did take three scalps in the tied match against the Knights, and he brings a threat with the bat that is yet to explode.
In harness with the evergreen Robbie Frylinck, he brings a measure control at key times with the bat. Understandably, Morgan is really excited about what he has to work with.
“To top that, everyone is in form as well. You have to leave a guy like Athi Maposa out and Calvin Savage too, but that is exactly what you want,” he said of the depth.
The Dolphins find themselves just behind the Titans, thanks to a run of form on the road that has seen them go boldly wherever they play.
At home, they are just as fluent, and they will fancy their chances against a struggling Warriors side.
“We broke our PE hoodoo earlier this year, and I think that when they come to Kingsmead we always play well against them,” captain Khaya Zondo said, looking ahead to hosting the Eastern Cape franchise.
“At home we play good cricket against all teams and so we will have a lot of confidence going into Friday’s game,” Zondo added.
The Dolphins welcome back Mthokozisi Shezi from his exams, but the loss of Chetty for the season is one that has hurt the player and the collective. The sprightly Dane Vilas is also back in the mix, and the form shown by the top-order has pleased Morgan no end.
Morgan has paid tribute to his experienced core this season, crediting them with providing the stability that a team in transition needs.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys. A lot of potential coming through and coming into fruition, but also a really nice bunch of experienced players. “Khaya has grown as a leader, and you can see that every week. Around him, we have guys like Dane, who I have worked with before, so he knows exactly what I am about. Morne and Robbie have been around for years, and they are very good in sharing that knowledge.”
By all accounts, then, the Dolphins are in a good space, and they will look to make things even rosier this weekend.
First the Warriors today, and then a summit meeting against the Titans in Pietermaritzburg, on Sunday.