Ram Slam T20 Challenge: Hollywoodbets Dolphins vs VKB Knights Preview

Batsman Hits Ball

The Hollywoodbets Dolphins welcome the VKB Knights to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday 17 November in Ram Slam T20 Challenge action. 

The Hollywoodbets Dolphins return to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead having won their opening encounter against a Protea-laden WSB Cape Cobras side.

Things don’t get any easier for the Durban franchise as David Miller returns home to face his old teammates with the VKB Knights.

Dolphins vs Knights | Friday 17 November | Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, Durban | 18:00

To Win Match
Hollywoodbets Dolphins 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | VKB Knights 23/20

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Hollywoodbets Dolphins
What a season it’s been for Sarel Erwee. The Pietermaritzburg native won the Africa T20 Cup with Hollywoodbets KZN Inland before helping South Africa claim the Hong Kong Sixes. The stars seemed to align for the lanky opener as he strode out to the middle against the WSB Cape Cobras last week, stepping down wicket and depositing Vernon Philander for six over mid-wicket in only the second ball of the match.

He would eventually go on to score a brilliant 58-ball 103, propelling his side to 231-2. He was brilliantly supported by Dane Vilas and his skipper Khaya Zondo, with the latter helping himself to a 34-ball 67. It was particularly pleasing to see Zondo striking the ball so cleanly, with the crowning moment of his innings coming in the 15th over as he launched consecutive sixes over the mid-wicket boundary off of JP Duminy.

Of course, the top order will need to perform again against a gun Knights attack. Morne van Wyk and Vilas will need to come to the party again while we’re yet to see Sibonelo Makhanya, Andile Phelukwayo and Robbie Frylinck with the bat this season. One suspects they may be called upon in more tricky batting conditions in Durban.

Bowling wise, I liked the idea of opening things up with Keshav Maharaj and Frylinck and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the tactic employed again. There’s not much pace about the Dolphins attack with Phelukwayo, Makhanya and Imran Tahir (if fit) likely to make up the remainder of the attack.

If the men from Durban are brave, they could even sacrifice the extra seamer in Eathan Bosch in order to accommodate Vaughn van Jaarsveld (fitness permitting) to add a bit more bite to the top order. One feels that the wicket will suit the slower bowlers, especially with how dependent the hosts are on the spinners and medium pacers.

VKB Knights
The Knights were easily brushed aside by the Multiply Titans in midweek and will need a win in Durban to keep themselves near the summit of the table. They initially did quite well to keep the Titans’ top order quiet with things falling apart toward the back end of the innings.

Of course, this was probably down to Quinton de Kock needlessly running himself out a ball after hitting Marchant de Lange back over his head for an enormous six. There was a period where the Titans went 39 balls hitting just a single boundary with Eddie Leie, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Tshepo Ntuli and Aubrey Swanepoel all bowling superbly in the middle overs.

They let it go, however, with the last three overs going for 56 runs as the Pretoria franchise powered to 199-4. Those three overs put the Titans firmly in control with the Knights needing to score 10 an over for the victory.

Despite a bright start with Grant Mokoena grabbing 21 from 10 balls, they simply couldn’t put together any meaningful partnerships and lost wickets with regularity as scoreboard pressure told. This is something they’ll need to improve on with the Dolphins top order looking particularly dangerous.

An inability to set or chase 180+ in this competition could well be the Knights’ Achilles Heel this season. There is simply far too much pressure on Miller and Theunis de Bruyn to get big scores each and every innings. Fortunately, Miller will be all too familiar with conditions in Durban and will have a feel for the Dolphins attack.

Knowledge of the bowlers and conditions could be vital. If Miller settles early on and is allowed to score freely, I can see the Knights springing a bit of a surprise on the Dolphins. If he fails, however, the Free Staters could well find themselves with a single win in three.

There’ll also be massive pressure on the Knights' attack. Keeping the likes of van Wyk, Erwee and Vilas quiet early on will be key. If they are loose and give van Wyk too much width or drop in Erwee’s arc they could be in for an absolute battering early on.

Verdict: Hollywoodbets Dolphins 72/100
You simply have to lean toward the Dolphins following their all-action display against the Cobras last week. At around 7/10, it’s one you could probably add to all of your weekend multiples. 

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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