Cape Town - Both the Dolphins and Cape Cobras will not be holding back when they meet in their potential winner-takes-all Sunfoil Series clash at Kingsmead in Durban starting on Thursday.
It is the final match of the four-day season and both teams are trying to reel in the Titans and Knights above them as the competition winds down to one of its closest finishes in history.
“We have to go into the first day with a very strong mindset whether we bat or bowl so we can gain an immediate advantage over the opposition,” Dolphins coach Grant Morgan said. “When both sides are trying to win if you can put the opposition behind the eight ball they can’t go into a defensive mindset, they also have to try and move the game forward.
“If both sides are playing good cricket the game will accelerate on the final day as both teams need to try and fabricate something to give themselves a chance at winning the game.
Winning the title is ultimately out of their hands – they need both the champion Titans and the Knights to slip up in their matches against the Warriors and Highveld Lions respectively.
But there is hope for Morgan, whose side squandered a golden chance for pole position when they were beaten at home by the Pretoria-based franchise last weekend.
“If the Titans or the Knights win there isn’t anything we can do besides play for our highest possible position on the log,” he added.
“But if the Titans and the Knights don’t get above a certain amount of batting points and by lunch on day two we know that, we will exert pressure and hopefully know exactly what we have to do on the final day.”
Cobras coach Ashwell Prince has overseen a remarkable transition for the Cape side since replacing Paul Adams at the turn of the year.
Not many people gave them a chance of climbing off the foot of the table, let alone contending for the title, but three wins from four has put them on the brink of what would be a remarkable win.
“We have now won three out of four matches and you cannot ask for more from the players,” Prince said. “If you look at the log now, it’s probably everyone down to fifth place that will be thinking they can win it. I think even the Warriors can win if there was rain around the rest of the country, so you never know.
“I have no doubt the Dolphins will be up for it as well, they’re a point behind us and it’s all to play for on this final weekend, which makes it a great advert for the Sunfoil Series.”
The former Proteas batsmen wants to see his players leave everything out on the field this week. “If we are beaten, it should be because we played great, but we were just surpassed by a team playing even greater than us,” he adds.
The Cobras are expected to stick with the same players that did duty in Paarl last week.
For the Dolphins, Morne van Wyk again sits out, while Mthokozisi Shezi (hamstring) and Keshav Maharaj (groin) are also missing.
Rookie seamers Attie Maposa and Okuhle Cele have been drafted into the squad.