Hollywoodbets Dolphins coach Grant Morgan is expecting a tough Sunfoil Series scrap against the bizhub Highveld Lions when the two sides meet at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg starting from Friday.
Both sides have drawn their opening two matches of the season, the hosts’ latest outings coming against the VKB Knights and the visitors coming from a derby battle against the Multiply Titans.
Both teams can argue that they took more from their games last week and Morgan has predicted a tight round three encounter in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The Lions are going to be a tough challenge with a leader like Stephen Cook, who lives and breathes Johannesburg and the Lions, and a strong all-round side that is talented across the board from their bowlers to their batters,” he said.
“They bat very deep, and it looks like young (Wiaan) Mulder is the final piece of their puzzle.
“With all of their bowling and batting options they become a really tough side to beat so it going to be another scrap and we know that we have to work exceedingly hard to beat them.”
The Dolphins were unlucky last week after their game with the reigning champions was reduced to a three-day affair due to rain. The weather is again expected to play a part this week with wet weather forecasted for KZN.
Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana has also pinpointed some dangermen in the Dolphins side.
“They play some good cricket at home and have some dangerous players, like a Robbie Frylinck, who has bowled really well against us in the past, so we’ll have to be watchful against those dangerous players,” he says. “Sarel Erwee’s been in excellent form, so we’ll have to be prepared against them.”
The Lions did well against the Titans last time out and Toyana is pleased with their overall situation two games into the season.
But he is slightly wary about his bowlers, suggesting there could be changes to his attack.
“It has been quite tough for all the teams to get results,” he added. “So it’s basically even stevens at this point between everyone.
Now we head to Pietermaritzburg, a venue we’ve played well in over the years and the boys are looking forward to it.
“I think it’s key that we keep our bowlers fresh because they’re the ones that have really toiled so far this season. But they are all are fit and raring to go against a very good Dolphins team.”
Kolpak player Dane Vilas is included in the Dolphins squad, while Aaron Phangiso is added to the Lions squad.
The Dolphins squad is: Khaya Zondo (capt), Morne van Wyk, Calvin Savage, Senuran Muthusamy, Dane Vilas, Rob Frylinck, Sibonelo Makhanya, Mthokozisi Shezi, Prenelan Subrayen, Cody Chetty, Vaughn Van Jaarsveld, Athi Maposa, Kerwin Mungroo.
The Lions squad is: Stephen Cook (capt), Reeza Hendricks, Omphile Ramela, Rassie van der Dussen, Nicky van den Bergh, Dwaine Pretorius, Wiaan Mulder, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, Aaron Phangiso, Beuran Hendricks, Craig Alexander, Ayavuya Myoli.