DURBAN - The Highveld Lions host the Dolphins in the penultimate round of the Sunfoil Series, and the men from the City of Gold are desperate to finish a tough season with a glimmer of hope for the next term.
The Dolphins still retain a mathematical interest in the four-day title, and they will go to “The Bullring” confident of building on their revival.
Coach Grant Morgan’s men had a stumble against the Cape Cobras at home in their last outing, but they went to the Wanderers early, signalling their plan to take another chunk out of the Lions.
“It has been a tough season, and we have taken a few risks in the last few rounds, which didn’t quite work out,” Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana sighed.
“Against the Titans, we produced a sporting wicket to try and give ourselves a chance, but that didn’t work out. We also had a small target against the Warriors, but we couldn’t get over the line. So it has been a challenging time.”
The Lions have been boosted by the news that they will have Wiaan Mulder back for the contest, as the young all-rounder looks to stay sharp in the middle. Mulder has been part of the Proteas squad, but it was always unlikely that he would get a crack against the Aussies this summer.
“We are very happy to get Wiaan back, and he is going to play a big role for us. He has done well for us, and he gives us options with the bat and ball,” Toyana said.
The Lions minder did also put in another cheeky request for the services of another Proteas star, but he got short shrift.
“Of course we asked about KG (Kagiso Rabada),” he smiled.
“Jokes aside, the boy has bowled a lot of overs. He has had a massive summer for the Proteas, and it is just a pity that he will be missing the rest of the series.
“With the return of Wiaan, as well as Beuran Hendricks getting back into form, and Dwaine Pretorius, our attack has a bit more balance.”
The Dolphins, meanwhile, have some serious injury concerns, missing the likes of Robbie Frylinck, Morne van Wyk and Andile Phehlukwayo.
“Unfortunately we will also be without Rabian Engelbrecht who misses the trip with an illness,” coach Morgan added.
“Although we have a couple of guys missing, as I said, it’s exciting for the other guys that have been on the fringes. You are always in something; it’s just what sort of competition you are in for.”
They will fancy meeting the struggling Lions, and the extra pace of the fastest wicket in the country will encourage a batting card that likes the ball coming onto the bat. They still need results to go their way, but only a win will do for them at this stage of the season.