Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dolphins rue missed chances in semi

IT was a matter of close but no cigar for the Dolphins on Sunday in the MTN Domestic Championship semi-final in Bloemfontein, and they are left to rue what could have been this week.

Convenor of selectors Jay Naidoo told The Witness yesterday that there was a genuine sense of frustration among the team at missing out after getting so close.

“For sure we had our chances to win, but we just didn’t get that one top order batter who played through the innings for us,” Naidoo pointed out.

The trio of Ahmed Amla (37), HD Ackermann (27) and Jon Kent (39) all got in, but crucially failed to provide the base for a late assault on the 253-run target. “If you look at the Eagles, from 40-odd for three they got one big partnership and that made the difference,” Naidoo continued.

Loots Bosman (95) and skipper Boeta Dippenaar (71) rescued a stumbling home innings with a pivotal 125-run stand for the fourth wicket.
“Loots is obviously an attacking player, and he rode his luck a bit,” Naidoo said. “If one of our batters who got in had batted on, it would have certainly made things much easier for the likes of Daryn [Smit] at the end of the innings.”

The Dolphins still fancied their chances at the halfway stage, despite a 44th over assault by Dillon du Preez, which harvested 19 runs.
“That over did hurt us a bit, but if you had offered us 250 to chase on that deck before the start, we would have backed ourselves to get it,” he said.

Naidoo said the loss of limited-overs maestro Sanath Jayasuriya was keenly felt, and said the side was looking forward to “Sunny’s” return from the tri-series in Dhaka.

“His experience with the ball in the latter stages would have been vital, and obviously we all know what he can do with the bat,” Naidoo said.

The Dolphins now have a decent break to reflect on what could have been before the start of the Standard Bank Pro20 series next Friday.
“We have a tough start [away games to MTN finalists the Eagles and the Titans], but if we can steal one win out of those two it will stand us in good stead to make the semis,” an upbeat Naidoo said.

He also revealed that Jayasuriya will be back in time for the second clash of that tournament, against the Titans on January 25.

A Jayasuriya blitz just before he departs KZN may yet prove to be just what the doctor ordered for Amla and his troops.

The Pro20 series offers the Dolphins one final chance of silverware in a season where they have steadily improved without ever really dominating proceedings.

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