The Dolphins celebrate after taking a wicket during the 2016 T20 Challenge. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
The Dolphins celebrate after taking a wicket during the 2016 T20 Challenge. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Dolphins coach Grant Morgan (left). Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Dolphins coach Grant Morgan (left). Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN - The Dolphins will be looking to their "middle-class" citizens to be the difference for them in the T20 Challenge, which starts on Friday.

“I think we have a very strong ‘middle-class’,” coach Grant Morgan said of his playing staff.

“I am talking about the guy looking to make himself an international, and we have a strong core of that type of player. If they can approach this tournament in the right way, I think we can go a long way.”

The Dolphins themselves will play against the Cobras in the first of two matches at Centurion on Sunday, and they are eager to start playing their cricket on the front-foot, as opposed to chasing matches and trying to catch up to the opposition.

"I think we aren’t a team that is happy with mediocrity. In the four-day competition, we were happy with our fighting spirit, but we didn’t play much of the campaign on the front foot,” Morgan lamented.

“We have shown in the past that we can lead competitions from the front, and that we are (a) tough nut to crack. As a side, we have discussed playing more on the front foot - not always being a fightback side, and not having to chase big totals and avoid follow-ons.”

Like every other team in South Africa, the Dolphins squad has had to adjust their ambitions, putting aside the T20 Global League, and getting tighter as a unit for the T20 Challenge.

They had a pair of warm-up matches at Kingsmead on Wednesday, assessing the squad ahead of the trip to Pretoria. Missing from the action was batting powerhouse Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who has an issue with his back, as well as Proteas’ spinner Imran Tahir.

“Immy has had some scans on his heart. He had something of a slight concern and he went and had it checked out. We all get these things, be they heart murmurs or something, and you have to check them out, and make sure they are fine. We are sure he will join us later and it is just a case of taking care of these little things,” Morgan said optimistically.

Of course, the Dolphins have welcomed back Keshav Maharaj and Andile Phehlukwayo into their ranks, as well as newly-capped Protea Robbie Frylinck.

“To us, Robbie is still just Robbie. He has earned his call-up through his performances over the years, but we still treat him as the same player,” Morgan said of his talisman.

Surveying the opposition, Morgan warned that it would again be a very tight competition.

“You just have to look at what happened last season. The Knights, who were the four-day champions, came last in the T20 - with the kind of ‘ammo’ they have got. You have to realise that it is a massive test,” he maintained. “I thought we did a lot of things right last season, and we will be trying to do more of the same this time round, but also learn from our mistakes.”

The T20 Challenge starts tomorrow, when the Warriors take on the Knights.


The Mercury

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