Morné van Wyk continued his good form for the Dolphins with a knock of 67 against the Titans on Sunday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

DURBAN – No AB de Villiers. No Aiden Markram. No Albie Morkel. No Farhaan Behardien. No Lungi Ngidi. No Dale Steyn. No Chris Morris. No Quinton de Kock.

No team in world cricket would be quite the same with all those names simultaneously off the list.

But, that was how the Titans honoured their final fixture of the round-robin stages of the RamSlam T20 Challenge as they trotted out their bench-warmers and then got bowled out for 79 on Sunday.

The gleeful Dolphins trounced them by 89 runs to secure the bonus-point win they needed to steal a home semi-final from under the noses of the Cobras.

But even the gregarious Grant Morgan wouldn’t have expected the win to be so ridiculously easy.

He would have preferred a tougher scrap, and has probably seen his side pushed harder in the midweek friendly matches they have played to keep busy.

On days such as Sunday, when so much was on the line across the competition, the least the men from Pretoria could have done was to look like they were bothered to play against the Dolphins.

Of course they had long qualified, so the result meant nothing to them.

Yes, Mark Boucher had to rotate his squad to keep others happy. They will still host a semi-final against the Warriors, and then probably host a final.

They will probably go on and win the competition at a canter, given their vastly superior playing reserves.

But they will also change their team completely for the final stretch as they roll out the big guns and become the polar opposite of the farce they served up at Kingsmead.

If a De Kock, a De Villiers or a Behardien turn up in the mood, they will probably be too much for whoever they face anyway.

That was the case when they took the first half of the competition seriously.

The Cobras may well feel aggrieved, because the Titans’ display practically handed the Dolphins a bonus-point on a silver platter.

The hardest the Dolphins were stretched was in the latter stages of their innings when the runs were dried up by a policy of short, slower balls.

Khaya Zondo and his middle-order struggled to get them away after Morné van Wyk (67) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (28) started in a hurry, and Dane Vilas gave the innings impetus.

Morné Morkel bowled well enough, though his second over travelled for 15 runs.

For the most part, the Dolphins innings floated along, a procession of boundaries and occasional wickets.

In return, the Titans gave us a flurry of wickets, and the occasional good shot. One team came to play for their lives, and another came for a weekend on the coast.

At one point, the Dolphins looked as if they would breach 200 again this season, such was the ease with which they plundered runs.

Van Wyk batted as if he was still on the belter in Bloem, carving through square and sweeping to leg with relish.

The Dolphins dropped his regular opening partner Sarel Erwee, which seemed a touch harsh after the season he has enjoyed, with Van Jaarsveld pushed up.

Perhaps in the semi-finals the Dolphins will recall him and look to play to their strengths. That is to go hard upfront, and trust the ‘engine-room’ to keep the foot on the accelerator.

That is what will be required against the Cobras when they meet on Thursday.

The Dolphins would have been encouraged by the form shown by Imran Tahir (2/20), Keshav Maharaj (2/18) and Mthokozisi Shezi (1/4).

They will need to hit those straps again in the semis, because the opposition will not be going through the motions.

Elsewhere, the Lions paid a heavy price for letting too many games slip out of their grasp, as the rain caught them and the Knights on the highveld.

The Cobras, needing a win, slipped up to the Warriors, who booked their place in the last four.

RamSlam Semi-Finals

Titans v Warriors (Wednesday), Dolphins v Cobras (Thursday).


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