Cape Town – The Dolphins have the dual responsibility of
igniting their own campaign and recapturing some semblance of South African
honour when they play host-nation Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League
Twenty20 tournament in Bangalore later on Monday (16:30 SA time).
The current scoreboard from a SA point of view is “played
three, lost three” at the lucrative event, with the Cape Cobras in particularly
dire straits now after successive losses in their first two Group B matches.
They may already be goners, given that even wins in their
last two matches – starting with Barbados Tridents on Friday – won’t
necessarily be enough to ensure semi-final qualification; some other results
would need to go their way and they will also have to greatly perk up their
negative net run rate of -1.646.
At least the Dolphins, last season’s domestic T20 champions,
gave it a real go in their Group A opener against Perth Scorchers, and were
odds-on to win when Mitchell Marsh needed to hit successive sixes off the
previously economical Robbie Frylinck’s last two balls of the match ... yet
promptly did so.
But if Lance Klusener’s charges want to stay in the running
themselves, they badly need to triumph against the Super Kings to avoid falling
into the Cobras’ predicament.
They do at least look that crucial bit stealthier in the
field thus far than the Cobras, who have a dangerously “Dad’s Army” look about
them for this high-tempo format of the game.
Particularly in their first game - where they lost on the
Duckworth/Lewis method but looked set for a real roasting anyway after leaking
200-plus runs to New Zealand’s Northern Districts bowling first – it was
painfully evident that they were carrying too many ageing (and in some cases overly
Six of the team who surrendered that match were over 30
years off age and some significantly so: Charl Langeveldt is 39, Justin Kemp
36, Robin Peterson 35 and captain Justin Ontong 34, although at least the
latter two remain notably sprightly as fieldsmen.
When they shook up their brew for Sunday’s slightly tighter
loss to Hobart Hurricanes, introducing Richard Levi to their top order produced
some dividends (an aggressive knock of 42) although he is also no gazelle from
a fielding perspective.
It was also refreshing to see SA Engelbrecht, who has earned
a slightly unwanted reputation as a “specialist fielder” at Newlands in recent
seasons, make a fulsome, inventive bowling contribution, something desperately
needed after rather more frontline spinner Dane Piedt’s shoulder pop-out mishap
early in his stint.
Sadly the Cobras were probably undone by a fateful no-ball
from Vernon Philander, hitherto impressive with both blade and ball, in the
third-last over of their defence: the aptly-named Aiden Blizzard cashed in
handsomely to turn around the match in a few subsequent minutes.
One mitigating factor for the Capetonians in their struggle
thus far is that they came to the tournament more or less out of the home
winter, with outdoor opportunities thus fairly limited ahead of the CLT20.
Yes, the same no doubt applied to both the New Zealand and
Aussie teams they’ve played second fiddle to, but the Northern Districts had
played three precious matches in the qualifying mini-tournament in India, so
were much more equipped to hit the ground running and be familiar with
The Dolphins must try to stop the SA rot against a CSK team
which boasts such stellar batting names as Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Faf
du Plessis and MS Dhoni ... and also without their own ace finisher David
Miller who plays instead for his IPL franchise, the unbeaten Kings XI Punjab.
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