DURBAN - The Dolphins look forward to trips away from home these days, because they normally come with a guarantee of cricket. The weather in Durban is stubbornly refusing to play ball in the T20 Challenge, with a second straight game washed out on Wednesday.
As luck would have it, they visit the cock-a-hoop Titans in Benoni next, but that will matter precious little to them. Having twiddled their thumbs for a second night at home, the men from Durban will be chomping at the bit just to get on the park.
Wednesday was tough for the Dolphins and their fans to take, as an afternoon deluge made sure that even the chance of a five-over shootout was wiped away. It was reminiscent of last Friday, when over 6 000 people turned up for the first home game of the season under lights.
“It is very disappointing, but it is nobody’s fault,” chief executive Heinrich Strydom explained. “You know, last Friday, it was incredible to see so many people turn up, and then stay until 9pm. A lot of the vendors even sold out, because they hadn’t anticipated there being so many people.
“That shows us that the people of Durban have a real appetite for cricket, and that is encouraging for the future. We can only control the controllables (in relation to weather), and our next opportunity will be next Friday.”
Before that, though, the Dolphins go up country, to take on the might of the most formidable franchise in South African, if not world, cricket. The Pretoria outfit have an embarrassment of riches, the sort that can allow them to rest Quinton de Kock and not bat an eyelid.
“The Titans have a phenomenal squad, but what better way to test yourself than against the very best,” coach Grant Morgan challenged.
He added that his team were not worried about some of the Dolphins’ players being a bit undercooked when it came to time in the middle, as it was something that they could not change.
“I don’t worry about that. The guys are excited about playing the Titans. You can either think about being underdone, or think about the fact that the Titans are who they are,” Morgan warned.
“We always say that we want to play against the best that is out there, to really see how good we are. The Titans have internationals throughout that team, but I don’t see it as a case of the other five teams playing for second place.”
Morgan and his side have shared the spoils with the Titans twice this season already, with their brand of no-fear cricket winning them admirers - if not always matches - and they will have a similar approach on Friday.
“We have been training really hard, so I feel we are ready and not at all underdone. So we look forward to the challenge,” Morgan added.
The Dolphins were boosted this week, as Imran Tahir and Vaughn van Jaarsveld returned to full training with the squad. Tahir seems over his mystery ailment, and bowled with gusto at practice. Van Jaarsveld, meanwhile, has made good progress from a back injury, though his workload was managed in the nets.
With the weather in Durban as unpredictable as it is, all the Dolphins can do is to start making themselves feel at home on the road, starting in Benoni.