Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
VKB Knights v Sunfoil Dolphins | Tuesday 2 February | De Beers Diamond Oval | 14:00
Tuesday will see the Momentum One Day Cup’s bottom two sides square off at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley. While both teams are still in with a chance of making the semi-finals of the tournament, they’re going to need to start producing the goods from here on in if they are to achieve a berth in the knockout phase of the tournament.
So who will revive their campaign with a win on Tuesday? Let’s see if we can find out below.
To Win Match
You have really got to feel for the men from Kimberly. Their torrid season, which has seen them only win two of their five MODC games, just seems to get worse with each passing week despite their terrific team spirit and positive approach to the game.
Their last outing saw them travel to Willowmore Park to take on the fourth-placed Titans. Having won the toss and elected to field, the Knights opening bowlers went about their task of containing the dangerous Titans opening pairing of Quinton de Kock and Henry Davids with great aplomb. By the end of the 10th over the Knights had managed to restrict the Titans scoring to just over 4.5 an over and had removed the dangerous de Kock for only 22.
Things got even better for the away team. By the end of the 27th over, they had dismissed Henry Davids as well as another Titans dangerman, Heino Kuhn. However, a middle to lower order renaissance lead by Chris Morris 45* and Albie Morkel 40 saw the Titans post an extremely competitive total of 301.
The Knights got their batting innings off to a poor start that saw them lose three wickets for only 36 runs. Their innings was salvaged somewhat by the ever impressive Rilee Rossouw who smashed seven fours and a six on his way to a 52 ball 62. He was well supported by Pite Van Biljon who scored 32 in a mature batting display.
The duo would return to the pavilion in quick succession, however, with Van Biljon losing his wicket in the 23rd over and Rossouw falling in the 26th. And despite a valiant effort by Coestsee 48 and Sibito 42 to recover the innings, the Titans total proved 55 runs too much for the brave Knights to chase down.
The Titans will now look to bounce back from that defeat when they take on the Dolphins. If they are to beat the KZN-based franchise they are going to need to be a lot more ruthless with both bat and ball in hand. They’ve let far too many promising positions slip by this season and while some of those can be put down to bad luck, there comes a point where you have to look at yourselves as a team and try and figure out what the root cause of your inability to capitalize on these positions is. If they can figure this out, then I think they're in with a great chance of defeating the Dolphins.
A season that promised so much seems to be turning pear-shaped rather quickly for the KZN-based franchise. Lance Klusener’s men have struggled to replicate their promising early season – particularly their performances in the now concluded Ram Slam Challenge.
So what’s the reason for the Dolphins latter season struggles I hear you ask? Well, a big factor here is the playing personal. While Kevin Pietersen scored a bucket load of runs during the Ram Slam Challenge, it was his ability to play the situation – something that is greatly missing from a lot of the Dolphins batmen’s repertoires – that helped calm his younger batting partners.
Lance Klusener’s 50-over squad does contain men who are capable of replicating the same calming influence that the England International did during the T20 competition. The problem for the Dolphins however, is that their elder statesmen have either endured injury-plagued campaigns or have struggled for form. Morne van Wyk is an individual who has seen both of these hindrances handicap his season. We all know what the veteran batsman is capable of, but he hasn’t really delivered the goods this season. Factor in Kyle Abbott's unavailability due to Protea commitments and an injury spell, and you’re left with a very young and inexperienced looking Dolphins line up.
That inexperience was on show at Newlands this past Friday. Having restricted the Cobras to a moderately competitive total of 265, Dolphins fans must have thought their side were in with a real chance of putting one over the table-topping Cobras. However, a meek batting performance from the KZN franchise saw them bundled out for 197 – 67 short of the Cobras' total.
Klusener’s charges are going to have to up their game if they are to avoid tasting defeat twice in the space of five days. They will need their batsmen to step up to the mark, especially with Imran Tahir likely to be unavailable due to national commitments. With Tahir and fellow Protea, Kyle Abbott – who is currently injured but he is still with the Protea squad – the Dolphins batting line up are going to need to chase or set a big score if they are to win this one.
Verdict: Knights 7/10
As much as I’d like to see the Dolphins win, being from KZN myself, I just can’t see it happening. Back the hosts to get off the bottom of the table with a narrow victory over their fellow strugglers.
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