Final season push as Sunfoil Series returns

Vaughn van Jaarsveld (Credit: Anesh Debiky) - Hollywoodbets Dolphins - Sunfoil Series

The Hollywoodbets Dolphins will have to refocus sharply following their shared Momentum One Day Cup triumph when they head to Bloemfontein to tackle the VKB Knights in the Sunfoil Series from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 February.

The four day competition has seen the men from Durban draw all of their first five encounters of the campaign. They currently sit in fifth place on a log that has very few points separating the top from the bottom.

"There is a 17.72 point difference between us in fifth and the Titans at the top of the log," coach Grant Morgan said. "We know where we want to go from here on in and I've worked out that we will probably need three wins out of the five games and a total of 164 points.

"That means that we need around 100 more points if we are going to win the Sunfoil Series."

Despite the fact that the Knights did not feature too prominently in either of the limited overs competitions, Morgan is under no illusions of how difficult a side they are to beat.

"I am expecting the toughest game of the season," he stressed. "I am expecting a very hurt bunch of guys with some quality players who are desperate to climb back to the top of the four-day competition.

"It's going to be an incredibly tough match relative to where we are coming from after our success and where they are coming from after being hurt in white ball cricket."

The Dolphins batting line-up, despite the loss of captain Khaya Zondo and Andile Phehlukwayo to the Proteas, is still a strong one with a few changes being made to balance out the line-up.

"We will go with Morné van Wyk and Sarel Erwee up top with Vaughn van Jaarsveld three and Sen Muthusamy at four.

"Makhanya, Vilas, Maharaj, Frylinck, Zak Paruk, Athi Maposa and Kerwin Mungroo will make up the rest of our eleven," Morgan added.

It will be a franchise debut for young Zakariya Paruk who has put in some strong performances for the KZN Coastals team and has been rewarded with a first class call up.

"We are taking a fairly new look side which has a good mixture of experience and youth and to have Keshav's leadership there is great too.

"It will be a case of us finding the energy and focus again, but the guys will be alright. We had a few days off after the final so I think the boys are good," he commented.

Veteran Rob Frylinck will be expected to lead the Dolphins bowling attack along with captain Keshav Maharaj, as they guide a youthful Dolphins seam attack.

"We've got four seamers, with Sibz Makhanya being our fifth seamer and very able second spinner in Sen Muthusamy, whose move to four in the batting order allows him to share more of the spinning load with Keshav.

"Athi has come on in leaps and bounds and Kerwin has shown great promise while Zak has really earned his spot in the team."

19 year-old Paruk has featured in ten games for the KZN Coastals team where he has picked up an impressive 28 wickets at an average of 17. His best figures of 5/44 came against KZN Inland at Saraha Stadium Kingsmead in November 2017.

Sarel Erwee, Morne Van Wyk, Vaughn Van Jaarveld, Senuran Muthusamy, Sibonelo Makhanya, Dane Vilas, Keshav Maharaj (captain), Robert Frylinck, Athi Maposa, Kerwin Mungroo, Zakariya Paruk, Lwandisa Zuma, Graham Hume.

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