DURBAN - After the unlikeliest of results in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-finals, the Dolphins find themselves with a chance to win their first 50-over trophy in domestic cricket for 16 years.
The men from Durban host the Warriors on Friday, after they ousted the Cobras in Cape Town, on a wild Wednesday night. The Warriors, meanwhile, did the unthinkable and went to Pretoria and defeated the Titans.
Thus, the Dolphins will know only too well that Friday will be no walk in the park against a side brimming with late-competition confidence.
“I rate the Warriors as probably the best fielding team in the competition,” coach Grant Morgan started on the opposition. “They were in two finals last season and have been in a semi-final this season already so they have proven to be a good side across both white ball campaigns. We will have to play our best game of the season if we are going to get over the line on Friday.”
If Morgan ever needed a reminder of what the Warriors can do, they got just that a fortnight ago, when the very same Warriors trounced them in a round-robin match at Kingsmead. The Dolphins were terrible that night, and they simply cannot afford a repeat display. Morgan is backing his bowling unit, especially, to continue the form they have shown this term.
“The bowlers have been superb throughout the season, but I still don’t think that we have put that perfect game together yet. Our batting has come close to hitting its straps, but we have fallen by the wayside at times which has prevented us from getting that big score,” Morgan added.
Though the batting has not fired in unison, there have been standout performances from the likes of Sarel Erwee, Morne van Wyk and Dane Vilas. Robbie Frylinck has also chipped in when under the cosh, but they will want at least two or three of those to weigh in on Friday.
The Dolphins last won a 50-over trophy in 2001/02, when they beat Western Province. It was the days before franchise cricket, when they were still Natal, and most of the players in the side were still in school.
Skipper Keshav Maharaj spoke of the great anticipation in the side, and the hunger to finally end that barren run in the competition.
“It’s been 16 years. That is a long time, and the boys are very motivated to get over the line on Friday. We hope to have a great support base on Friday, and we will be doing our utmost to play at our best,” the left-arm spinner said.
After the RAM Slam T20 Challenge final, when they capitulated against the Titans, Morgan is not looking to put any undue pressure on his men. They must simply go out there and play.
“All we want to do is to keep improving and we have done that in the RAM SLAM and now we have done it again in the Momentum One Day Cup. We want to give the fans in Durban something to be proud of and this is the second final in the city in six months after the Currie Cup final,” Morgan added.
They will try to provide a slightly happier ending than that Currie Cup final for Durbanites, of course. Play at Kingsmead starts at 1:30pm, with coverage on Supersport 2 from 1pm.
Dolphins squad: Sarel Erwee, Kehsav Maharaj (c), Senuran Muthusamy, Sibonelo Makhanya, Calvin Savage, Robert Frylinck, Athi Maposa, Zack Paruk, Prenelan Subrayen, Morne Van Wyk, Dane Vilas, Smangaliso Nhlebela, Mthokozisi Shezi, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.