The log leading Sunfoil Dolphins are looking forward to getting the second half of their RAM Slam T20 Challenge campaign underway on Wednesday evening when they return to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead for a top of the table clash with The Unlimited Titans.
The fixture, which gets underway at 18h00, signals the start of another busy period for the men from Durban as they prepare to play three matches in the space of just five days which includes trips to East London and Johannesburg.
Having enjoyed a first half that included a run of four wins in a row, the Sunfoil Dolphins will look to return to winning ways at home on Wednesday after suffering their only loss of the competition to the Cape Cobras on Sunday.
“At the start of the tournament we would have taken four wins out of five at the halfway stage,” said a satisfied Sunfoil Dolphins head coach Lance Klusener.
“I’m not happy about Sunday’s result but I am happy about the way we fought. Now we just need to work out how we’re going to finish top of the table.
“We got onto a bit of a roll (in the first four games) and so now it’s just about getting back onto that roll,” he added.
Wednesday’s clash will be the first of this year’s RAM Slam T20 Challenge that the Sunfoil Dolphins will be without the service of Kevin Pietersen.
The fan favourite and global sensation’s brief five match stint with the franchise concluded on Sunday with him comfortably topping the list of run scorers in the competition thus far with him having notched up 364 runs in five innings an average of 121.33 and a remarkable strike rate of 172.51.
Pietersen is replaced by West Indian Dwayne Bravo with the recent match against the Cobras having given the Calypso King an added opportunity to get into the swing of things as he turned out alongside the former England international.
“Dwayne’s a class player and he will add a lot of value,” noted Klusener.
“He’s played a lot of cricket around the world and so I don’t think there is too much pressure on him, it’s just about him acclimatizing to the conditions.
“I think by his high standards he’ll be looking to do a lot better than he did (on Sunday) and the last time he was here as well.”
Bravo’s arrival not only coincides with Pietersen’s departure but also the national call up of Kyle Abbott, the return of all-rounder Ryan McLaren and the absence of Prenelan Subrayen too.
The personnel changes have forced the Sunfoil Dolphins to reconsider their approach ahead of the competition’s second half however Klusener is comfortable his squad can adapt as required.
“It’s about working out how we can win without (Subrayen and Abbott), added to that Kevin, because now we can’t necessarily play the way we have been playing,” said Klusener.
“Dwayne changes the balance of the team a bit too so it’s just about fitting him in, playing around him and him playing around us as well.”
Klusener admitted Pietersen’s departure left a gap in the batting order but believes his charges have what it takes to score heavily while also hoping for an improved fielding performance come Wednesday.
“The way Kevin batted was awesome but there are people that now need to stand up and score those runs as well; guys who maybe haven’t really had that much opportunity or that much time in the middle.
“Fielding is a concern for us, I don’t think we have been far off but at this level those small mistakes count against you so we need to be better if we want to go further.
The Sunfoil Dolphins have named a 13-man squad for their next three fixtures which see them take on The Unlimited Titans at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Wednesday, 18 November, the Warriors at Buffalo Park on Friday, 20 November and the bizhub Higveld Lions at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday, 22 November.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who continued his blistering Africa T20 Cup and Momentum One Day Cup form when he turned out for KZN Inland in the CSA Provincial T20 Challenge this weekend, blasting 77 runs off just 46 balls, has again been included in the squad while former SA U19 captain Sibonelo Makhanya has also been included.
Wednesday, 18 November’s match between the Sunfoil Dolphins and The Unlimited Titans at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead starts at 18h00 with gates opening at 17h00.
Tickets can be purchased at ticketpro.co.za or at the Stadium ticket office while fans are reminded that they can stand a chance of winning a share of R1million should they catch a ‘six’ one-handed and cleanly (Ts & Cs apply).
Sunfoil Dolphins squad:
Morne van Wyk (captain), Craig Alexander, Dwayne Bravo, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Keshav Maharaj, Sibonelo Makhanya, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Ayavuya Myoli, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo, Lance Klusener (coach), Rivash Gobind (assistant coach), Brett Edwards (physiotherapist)