JOHANNESBURG - Dolphins coach Grant Morgan admitted his team played a poor match in Saturday night’s RamSlam T20 final against the Titans, but neither he nor his players will regret adopting an aggressive game-plan, which ultimately led to too many errors.
“We had to play a fairly positive game, but we didn’t have to make bad decisions at crucial times,” said Morgan.
The Dolphins were bowled out in the 19th over for exactly 100 in front of a packed, partisan crowd at SuperSport Park in Centurion, succumbing to some superb bowling by Chris Morris (4/13), Lungi Ngidi (2/15) and Malusi Siboto (2/10) as the Titans coasted to a comfortable seven wicket victory.
It was the third T20 crown in a row for the Titans, and Morgan’s counterpart, Mark Boucher’s third trophy in just his second season as the franchise’s coach.
“Obviously they didn’t make any mistakes,” Morgan said of the home team’s bowlers.
“Their lines were out of the top drawer, they didn’t concede an extra until very late and that puts a lot of pressure onto the batters to make the right decisions at the right time.”
The Dolphins’ aggressive strategy was evident early with openers Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne van Wyk hitting boundaries in the first over bowled by veteran skipper Albie Morkel.
But in attempting to fight fire with fire, they became unhinged, and the accuracy and pace of Morris and Ngidi, in particular, backed up by the craftiness of Siboto, proved too hot for the Dolphins batsmen to handle.
“They’ve earned the right - through the players they have - to put pressure onto the opposition and force them into rash decisions and unfortunately it got ugly for us very quickly,” Morgan added.
By the sixth over the Dolphins were 28/3, but even at the point Morgan felt there was a chance for his side to post a total that might have challenged the star-studded Titans.
“We didn’t execute well at key moments (during the game) ... we had a second, even a third chance to give ourselves a sniff and we took neither.
“I’ll never regret the fact that we had to come and play a positive game against these guys, you can’t sit on the fence, but we had to make better decisions,” said Morgan. “The players will be better for that down the line, the players will hurt tonight, but they will learn.”
In a strange twist, the Dolphins’ next assignment is against the Cape Cobras in the opening fixture of the Momentum One-Day Cup at Kingsmead on Thursday. The Dolphins had finished ahead of the Cobras in the RamSlam, upsetting many in the Cape, who bemoaned the Dolphins’ fortune in picking up so many log-points because of rained out matches.