Underdogs face MODC showdown
The Dolphins and Warriors will both be determined to make the most of reaching the MODC Final by winning the title when they clash at Kingsmead in Durban on Friday.
Both were second favourites to reach the competition decider – they had to face tough semi-finals on the road against the two teams that ended as the top two on the table – but now find themselves with a rare chance of silverware.
The Dolphins upset the Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Wednesday, while the Warriors stunned defending champions the Titans 24 hours earlier.
“We’re more relieved than pleased to have got through,” said home coach Grant Morgan, whose side defended a below par 230 at Newlands by dismissing the Cobras for 181.
“We would never have been able to live it down had we lost that one. I think happy will only come should we win the final.”
The visitors, meanwhile, dismissed the Titans for 230 on Tuesday and then won emphatically by eight wickets and with over 15 overs to spare.
“That performance really showed our potential and we were really happy with it,” their coach Rivash Gobind explained. “But it’s now in the past and we need to refocus before starting again on Friday.”
The hosts have not won a the 50-over competition in the franchise era, with the last time they claimed the prize in a South African season coming way back in 2001/02. They did secure the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge title back in 2013/14.
They are in their second final this season after also reaching the 20-over showpiece where they were embarrassed by the Titans in a one-sided final.
“We didn’t plan to lose that game,” Morgan explained. “We had a plan and it just happened that our execution didn’t come off.
“We were embarrassed about it and now we’re very proud about the way we’ve fought back. That willingness to fight is really something that pleases me. But we’re not yet at our happy place and we’ll be trying to get there tomorrow.”
As for the Warriors, Morgan added: “I’ve got huge respect for those Warriors and the way they go about doing things. So, I expect them to put up a good fight, but hopefully we’ll be able to pull it through.”
The visitors are bidding to win their first major trophy since 2009/10 when they claimed both limited-overs trophies.
They were runners-up in both white-ball finals last year and Gobind is desperate to go one better this time.
“It’s what we strive for from the beginning of the competition,” he added. “It’s great that we’ve put ourselves in a position to play in the last game of the competition and everyone is looking forward to the day and the occasion. There’s lots of excitement amongst the players.”
In their two meetings this season, the Warriors won comfortably in Durban, while the Dolphins were easy winners in Port Elizabeth.
Gobind, a former player and coach for the KZN side, is expecting a closely-contested final.
“They’re a fantastic team and I spent a lot of time working with a lot of those players, so I know the qualities that they have,” he concluded. “It’s no surprise to me that they’ve made two finals this season.
“It will be a big occasion, but I’m here to do a job and hopefully we can complete that on Friday.”
Bangladesh hopeful of hosting Sri Lanka despite lockdown
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) remain hopeful...
De Villiers names all-time IPL XI, names Dhoni as captain
Ahead of the start of the new IPL season, Royal Challengers Bangalore star AB de Villiers has named his all-time XI of the competition.
Feroze Khushi keen to move on from Essex celebrations incident
Khushi, a practicing Muslim, had alcohol poured over him as Essex players celebrated winning the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s last September.
Ollie Pope recalls moment England knew success in India would be uphill struggle
Pope revealed he was told by India’s captain Virat Kohli: “This is the last of the flat wickets.”
Chennai Super Kings: Hazlewood withdraws from IPL 2021
Jos Hazlewood became the third Australia international to withdraw from the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
Ollie Robinson grateful for ‘invaluable’ time spent with two of England’s finest
The 27-year-old spent last summer travelling, netting, chatting and watching two all-time greats in James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Tammy Beaumont believes the new season heralds 10 years of growth for the sport
The 29-year-old had an impressive winter series in New Zealand and topped the ICC ODI batting rankings.
Sir Alastair Cook open to keeping county cricket career going past this season
The former England captain’s three-year contract with Essex expires after the 2021 campaign.
Jason Roy can renew partnership with Jonny Bairstow after signing for Sunrisers
England stars Roy and Bairstow will be reunited at the franchise.