The evergreen Dane Vilas chipped in with a sprightly half-century for the Dolphins in their victory over the Lions. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Dolphins may have taken a while, but they have grown to enjoy their treks up the N3 to Pietermaritzburg.

There used to be a time when they didn’t fancy going to their second home, and they would look at the fixture list with dread, as they winced at the thought of playing on one of the hottest grounds in the country.

But, this season especially, they have come to embrace their other patch. They have had some excellent individual returns, and they have also produced some good results.

In their last outing, they outgunned a strong Lions side, and did so in front of a most pleasant Saturday crowd.

The sun shone, the pitch was a belter, and the Dolphins won.

Over 3 000 fans have walked through the gates to watch Khaya Zondo lead the likes of David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir and Keshav Maharaj.

Phehlukwayo noted at the time how much he had enjoyed playing in front of a decent, audible crowd, and just how much he had enjoyed batting on the immaculate surface.

It really was that good, and Vaughn van Jaarsveld helped himself to a ton as the Dolphins really cranked up the heat.

The evergreen Dane Vilas chipped in with a sprightly half-century, while Phehlukwayo and Miller administered the final touches.

That latter duo will not be available on Saturday (10am start), as they will be back down the highway at Kingsmead with the Proteas.

That being said, the Dolphins will still have plenty of star dust to sprinkle across Pietermaritzburg tomorrow.

It is a big game, as their coach and captain assessed earlier this week.

The Cobras, with the Malan brothers, a returning JP Duminy, Rory Kleinveldt and clutch of young stars, will be no pushovers.

The cricket the Cobras have produced this season warrants some reward, and they might look at this 50-over competition as the appropriate tonic.

They will need to go to Maritzburg and win, however. That will get their campaign back on the right path again.

But as they well know, they cannot expect their hosts to roll over and play dead. Not in Maritzburg.

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