DURBAN - There has been a lot of talk since the final round of the RamSlam T20 Challenge, and it has rumbled on to the point where men of influence are in danger of making a Cape mountain out of a Pretoria molehill.
Thankfully, the actual cricket resumed on Wednesday when the Titans and Warriors contested the first semi-final. On Thursday, the Dolphins host the Cobras in the second semi-final, though it could have been the other way around if Sunday had gone differently.
“It was disappointing (hearing that the Dolphins had secured a bonus point), but I think we are more disappointed in ourselves for losing that final match to the Warriors,” Cobras all-rounder Rory Kleinveldt admitted.
“If we had won, we wouldn’t have worried about what the Dolphins did. It would have been better to have a home semi, in front of our own fans, but we have to come and do the business here,” he said at Kingsmead.
Had the Cobras beaten the Warriors, none of the subsequent noise would have started. Kleinveldt added that the Titans had earned the right to do whatever they wanted.
Now, the Cobras must move on and overcome the Dolphins on the road. Before us is a tantalising battle between two well-matched sides with a point to prove.
The Cobras, top-heavy with bat and ball (they load their big guns up front and attempt to inflict early damage), visit a Dolphins side that has kept much of its powder dry for much of the competition.
They have insisted that they play their best cricket when it matters most, and it has seldom mattered more than this crunch semi-final.
“I have always said that we owe the Durban public as a team, and we now have an opportunity to repay them in a massive match, in front of them,” Dolphins coach Grant Morgan said.
Morgan and his men have had a stigma over them; the team that drew their way into the final four, and possibly beyond.
“We want to play. We don’t train all week just to hope for rain. We feel that it is our time, and we want to go out there and prove that. Every single person in our dressing-room would like nothing more than going out there and playing a full game of cricket,” he insisted.
The weather, of course, is beyond their control. Or the control of the Cobras, for that matter. The men from Cape Town landed in sunshine, checked into their hotel, and convoyed to Kingsmead for an optional practice with the sky already taking on an ominous grey.
“It’s one of those things that you can’t control,” skipper JP Duminy shrugged.
They were in charge of the last match they played at Kingsmead, with Duminy himself starring with a brutal 44-ball 85.
“We were in charge of that match but they can also point to the first match of the competition when they beat us. So we have to turn up on the day, and perform,” a refreshed looking Duminy added.
His form has been vital and surely will be again if the Cobras are to prevail.
“It has been a great turnaround for me. It had been an average year for me, especially in international cricket, but I have enjoyed the responsibility of leading the Cobras, and then putting up the performances that I know I can produce,” he smiled.
Now, as he looks to a once-off battle with the Dolphins, Duminy says it is imperative for the senior players to stand up.
“When it gets down to these matches, you look for the big performances from your experienced guys. We have improved our fielding, which was a problem, and we have been looking for that 9 or 10 out of 10 game. Hopefully, it comes now,” he enthused.
Only the weather stands between us and a riveting battle of wills and styles, and we can only hope that the clouds part and allow for the drama to unfold on the field, and we can go back to talking about the cricket.
Play is due to start at 6pm, with TV coverage on SuperSport 2 from 5.45pm.