DURBAN - The Dolphins travel to Cape Town to take on the Cape Cobras, and they are well aware that they have creases in their batting garb to iron out.
So far, they have managed to win two of their first three games, and just be pipped by the Highveld Lions off the final ball. On Wednesday, however, they come up against the most in-form batsman in franchise cricket, in the form of Cobras skipper JP Duminy.
Duminy has found that touch of old, and he is in terrific nick for the men from the Cape. He did it on the Highveld on the weekend, and the Dolphins know that they will have to keep him quiet if they are to make it back-to-back wins on the road in the One-Day Cup.
Last Friday, against the Warriors, the men from Durban were helped beyond 200 by a sensible Cody Chetty, the talented right-hander keeping a level head as others fell around him. Chetty’s half-century was surrounded by starts that never got off the runway.
Chetty, by nature, is a collector of runs, rather than a trampler of attacks. He knocks, nurdles and flicks, and is ideally partnered by a less subtle sledgehammer at the other end. Sadly for the Dolphins, the heavy artillery has been a bit gun shy of late.
It is a concern for coach Grant Morgan, and his concerns have not been allayed by the uncertainty of availability of his key man, Dane Vilas.
The sprightly wicketkeeper-batsman has been waiting to become a father for nine months, but it is the final few days of pregnancy that cannot be planned for.
Vilas was a question mark for PE, and he remains in limbo a week on.
In the meantime, Morgan wants more from his men, and he wants to see their intensity picked up.
“At the moment, our B plus and our A minus games are good enough for us to win. We would like to get to a point where our B minus games are also of a standard that makes us competitive enough. I really feel we are close to something special with this team, but we need to become a lot more ruthless,” Morgan sighed.
Against the Cobras, they will have to be at their ruthless best. Duminy, for starters, is in prime form, and is no doubt playing with the Proteas ODI fixtures in mind. Watching his teammates in action at Newlands would have been motivation enough.