Durban – Despite playing out to five draws in a row in the opening half of their Sunfoil Series campaign, the Hollywoodbets Dolphins remain in the hunt for a first four-day title since they shared the trophy in the 2005-06 season.
There is a break in the four-day campaign as players gear up for the white ball season with the CSA T20 Challenge taking place in November and December, followed closely by the Momentum One Day Cup before the Sunfoil Series resumes in the second week of February.
The men from Durban finished off the first half of the season with a draw to the WSB Cape Cobras in Oudtshoon which was preceded by draws to the Multiply Titans, twice, the bizhub Highveld Lions and the defending champions the VKB Knights.
“A positive from the first half of the season is that we have played the Titans twice and although we lost the bonus point battle we didn’t drop 10 or 16 points to them,” Morgan said.
“We have controlled two of the top three sides in the competition from last season which means that we have a crack at the rest next year.
“Even though all the sides are playing decent cricket we are going to take that as a positive.”
Given the importance of gaining bonus points in drawn four-day games, the Dolphins are reflecting on the small gains made or lost that now sees them sitting in fifth place on the log.
“You get a fifth position on a log and it can look ugly but we are in fifth and are the only side who hasn’t completed our first innings in every game.
“That could have given us another two or two-and-a-half points maybe.
“Last season we saw teams rush in the log very quickly, as the Cobras did.
“We were ahead by about one or two points with two games to go last season and it was still very close down to the fourth team on the log which made it really tight.
“The Titans have opened a bit of a gap and they are about 16 points ahead of us at this stage, but we know that it only takes one good game and you can rush up the log.
“All the other teams are quite bunched up and they remain within our control if we play well, which is a huge positive,” he added.
Despite being put under pressure by the Titans in their two fixtures the Dolphins managed to eke out draws in both clashes against the table-topping men from SuperSport Park.
“The guys feel proud about the rear-guard action that they showed in both games against the Titans,” Morgan stressed.
“We are proud of how we dug ourselves out of very poor positions against the Titans twice.
“With a lot of Proteas in their side in the first game and us being 20/3 overnight, as well as them having 120 overs to bowl at us on the final day in Maritzburg and we dug ourselves out gave us a lot of pride.”
It has been a tough half of the campaign for the Dolphins bowlers with the core of the seam attack being disrupted for a number of reasons which meant a new-look attack had to step up to the plate.
“With early injuries to Okhule Cele and Lwandiswa Zuma our fast bowling options were narrowed down quite a bit. I’m not saying that they were dead-set selections but they have both played for the SA Invitational XI and Zuma has played for the Knights.
“Then (Rabian) Engelbrecht splits his webbing in the first game of the season and Daryn Dupavillon gets injured so suddenly you are four seamers down already.
“With our 140km/h bowlers injured it meant we didn’t have that ability to rock the opposition out,” Morgan commented.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins will welcome back international stars Andile Phehlukwayo, Rob Frylinck, Keshav Maharaj and Imran Tahir for the upcoming CSA T20 Challenge which begins with them taking on the WSB Cape Cobras at SuperSport Park Centurion on Sunday, 12 November.