The Dolphins and the Lions square off at Kingsmead in Momentum One Day Cup action this Friday.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins pulled off a hefty chase against the Multiply Titans, while the bizub Highveld Lions successfully defended a pretty sum against the Warriors during the opening rounds of the Momentum One Day Cup, leaving this week’s showdown primed for the best of both.
A series of battles within the war – Robbie Frylinck versus Reeza Hendricks, Vaughn van Jaarsveld versus Beuran Hendricks and more – are bound to keep Friday evening’s crowd suitably enthralled.
Hollywoodbets Dolphins v bizhub Highveld Lions | Friday 24 February | Kingsmead | 14:00
To Win Match
Dolphins 92/100 | Tie 35/1 | Lions 92/100
Pessimists will suggest at least one of the Dolphins’ top three batsmen, who each welcomed a steady half-ton, should have gone onto three figures against the Titans. However, optimists will insist the middle-order were methodical enough – and that it takes a team, not a few individuals – to win key outings.
To that end, Frylinck and Khaya Zondo’s finishing was merely the proverbial cherry atop a fine all-round performance in Centurion – and each of the XI will feel accomplished, and eager to gel as a unit again, ahead of this week’s clash at Kingsmead.
Temptation to tweak one or two personnel, amid a challenging weekend double-header, might tickle the team selection. Kyle Nipper or Sibonelo Makhanya are pushing hard, but will probably have to wait for Sunday’s trip to Pietermaritzburg to face the Cobras – or beyond.
Morne van Wyk’s decision to step down from the captaincy and Zondo’s subsequent elevation has come at the right time and, coupled with Daryn Smit’s exit, speaks volumes of the Dolphins’ bid to capitalise on the here and now – but keep an eye on the future, too.
They’ll be properly challenged against the defending champions, who are brimming with confidence after trumping the Warriors. At their homeground, too, expectations are high – and they’ll need new-ball bowlers Mthokozisi Shezi and Rabian Engelbrecht to be on point, from delivery one, against power-packed opposition.
Hampered by injury to Eddie Leie, Wiaan Mulder and Hardus Viljoen, who remain various degrees of doubtful for Friday, the Lions are also without Dwaine Pretorius, who is touring with the Proteas.
Amid these absentees, as was the case against the Warriors, the men from the Highveld will require a handful of their burgeoning stars to duly step up. Opportunity then, again, knocks for Bjorn Fortuin and Matt McGillivray, in particular.
Their characteristic penchant for big totals with the bat, telling defences with the ball – and general cool, calm and collection through heavily-pressured junctures – epitomised the Lions’ title-winning campaign last year. For all intents and purposes, this is panning out again this year – and the Dolphins must beware, throughout.
On loan from the Cobras, Beuran Hendricks has effectively been catapulted to the helm of the Lions’ bowling attack – and as the Proteas remain on the look out for additional limited-overs resources – has ample opportunity to relaunch his international career in this game and across the remainder of the campaign.
Staying on top of Frylinck, with leather and willow, will be vital. Smarting after a lack of signature at this month’s Indian Premier League campaign, the burly and belligerent all-rounder will be determined to show what other worldly franchises are missing.
Verdict: Dolphins, 92/100
Plenty of runs marked the teams’ previous outings, so it’s invariably the bowling that’s going to decide Friday’s winner. The hosts, evidently, sport the stronger attack – and knowledge of homeground conditions will help. The careful, well-time deployment of spinner Keshav Maharaj – and the seamers’ ability to mix up the pace on a fast track – one surmises, will be crucial. Stephen Cook, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen and company are longing to counter, heavily.