Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The Nashua Dolphins have at least improved on their record in the MTN Domestic Championship last season, edging up from fifth to fourth and securing the last semi-final place.
After a poor start to the competition, in which they lost their first three matches, the Dolphins improved to such an extent that they won four out of five matches completed, with two abandoned because of rain.
With Sanath Jayasuriya yesterday failing in his bid to stay on for Sunday's semi-final against the Eagles, the main problem the Dolphins have is finding an opener to take his place.
The selectors, who meet tomorrow to finalise the squad to travel to Bloemfontein, will probably have to choose between Grant Rowley and Cameron Delport.
Experienced Rowley, despite a disappointing season to date, must surely be favoured to get the nod over 19-year-old Delport, who made his senior team debut in the Dolphins' three-wicket victory over the Warriors on Sunday.
Coach Yashin Ebrahim was delighted with the Dolphins' last-ball win over the Warriors on a slow St George's Park pitch, with Jon Kent made man of the match for a superb innings of 86, which included 10 fours in 119 balls. He shared a key fourth-wicket partnership of 109 with H D Ackerman (46), and that, added to a late cameo from Daryn Smit (26), enabled the Dolphins to squeeze home by three wickets on the last ball.
"Kentie played out of his socks, and H D's experience was also very important," said Ebrahim soon after the team returned to Durban yesterday. The Dolphins had already secured their semi-final place on Friday night, but it was important to go into the semi-final with winning momentum.
The rain-out on Friday was the second consecutive match lost to inclement weather in Durban. Next season, Cricket South Africa should consider awarding more day fixtures for the Dolphins in Durban, since the rain generally comes at night.
The Dolphins will have a well-earned rest today, with the build-up to Sunday's semi-final starting in the nets tomorrow.
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