DURBAN – The Dolphins have embraced the considerable challenge that the Warriors will bring today, when the duo meet in the One-Day Cup semi-finals at Kingsmead.
Given their ups and downs this season, there is more than a bit of relief for the KwaZulu-Natal franchise to have got to this point. It hasn’t always been pretty, but they have played a lot of their best cricket when they have been under pressure.
“Over the past two campaigns that I have been involved in, we have followed a similar course getting to this stage,” coach Grant Morgan said of his team’s progress to the last four.
“You could argue that, in the past two seasons, we have eventually made the semi-finals quite comfortably in the end.”
Second place suggests a level of comfort, but the Dolphins did have some tough moments getting to this point. They had to win well in Port Elizabeth, and then still needed points from their final fixture against the Highveld Lions. The rain ruined that spectacle in Potchefstroom, but the Dolphins feel primed for the simplicity of knockout cricket.
“We have addressed all the challenges that we have had this season and we have ended the group stages as well as we could,” Morgan pointed out.
Certainly, the Dolphins are a tough nut to crack at full tilt, but they are trying to win when they are not at their very best. It’s hardly as if the Warriors will roll over and let the Dolphins thump them by nine wickets again.
“We are struggling to find that B-plus game consistently. I think we did find it against the Warriors in PE, and we have played better away from home than we have on our turf.”
That last bit from Morgan, detailing the Dolphins’ ability to deliver on the road, rather than at home, must be addressed today.
If the trend persists, they will be watching the final on the telly with the rest of South Africa.
The Warriors have made Kingsmead a fortress of their own this season, and Morgan knows only too well that they need to halt that run of losses.
“I think it is quite apt that we can play against a side that has been a challenge for us and now it is time to put the record straight at home after beating them at their home,” Morgan said.
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There is plenty of sincerity and resolve about Morgan and his Dolphins, but their actions will speak infinitely louder than any words.
Today, their actions will have to take over, and the Warriors will be waiting with a like-for-like riposte.
It promises to be tight, and it also promises to be an exhibition of some of the best SA cricket has to offer.
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