Dolphins coach Grant Morgan is not willing to give up on the Sunfoil Series title ahead of their final match of the season against the Warriors starting in Durban on Thursday.
The hosts are one of five sides still in with a chance of claiming the four-day prize, although they have the slimmest chance of all.
The KwaZulu-Natal franchise, who are fifth with 114,44 points, must win their match with plenty of bonus points against the log leaders (128,04 points) and hope that the Cape Cobras in second suffer a heavy loss to the bizhub Highveld Lions.
They will also need the clash between the third-placed Knights and the fourth-placed Titans to be drawn, or preferably washed out.
In a nutshell, a lot needs to go their way in order for them to claim the 2017/18 crown but Morgan is staying positive.
“We still got a chance, albeit a mathematical one,” he said ahead of the encounter at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. “Every game is an opportunity to gain an advantage over your opposition. The Warriors, we’ve tended to beat them in four-day cricket and we’ll be aiming to maintain that trend this weekend.”
Last weekend the Dolphins escaped with a draw against the Lions in a match that saw them attack. Their ploy backfired, but Morgan was still pleased with their mindset, adding: “We’ve just got to go for it as it was this past weekend. We won’t worry about anything. For us it’s also about being the best we can be.”
The Warriors are the team in pole position in the race for the title, but missed a golden chance to get one hand on the trophy when they fell short of beating the Knights by eight runs in round nine.
“Fortunately it didn’t hurt us and we’re back where we started last weekend, so we can’t be too upset about it,” coach Rivash Gobind said.
A win for the Warriors will all but guarantee them the title, although they will still need to make sure they get more bonus points than the Cobras (127,02), Knights (124,32) and Titans (121,58) should they also win.
But Gobind is confident of their prospects.
“I think we’re probably confident rather than nervous,” the interim Warriors boss adds. “We know that we control our own destiny, so the ball is really in our court.
“Four-day cricket is such that you can’t just go out there and attack from the start. You have to play each session and you can’t win the game in that one session, but you certainly can lose it.
“So we have to be smart and stick to the plan and template that’s worked for us. We only need to win the game on day four in the final session, so there’s no rush. But there is excitement and we look forward to it.”
The Dolphins squad is: Dane Vilas, Sarel Erwee, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Senuran Muthusamy, Khaya Zondo (capt), Sibonelo Makhanya, Jason Oakes, Calvin Savage, Prenelan Subrayen, Andile Phehlukwayo. Eathan Bosch, Okuhle Cele, Kerwin Mungroo.
The Warriors squad is: Gihahn Cloete, Edward Moore, Colin Ackermann, Yaseen Vallie, Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Sinethemba Qeshile, Simon Harmer, Clyde Fortuin, Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje, Andrew Birch, Lutho Sipamla, Ayabulela Gqamane.
HEAD TO HEAD – Dolphins v Warriors
Matches Played 27
Dolphins Win 12
Warriors Win 05
|MATCH STATS (SUNFOIL SERIES)||HOLLYWOODBETS DOLPHINS||WARRIORS|
|Highest Score||512/7* (East London 2005/06)||500/4* (Pietermaritzburg 2007/08)|
|Lowest Score||123 (Port Elizabeth 2008/09)||92 (Durban 2012/13)|
|Highest Individual Score||209* DJ Watson (Durban 2006/07)||218* A Jacobs (Pietermaritzburg 2007/08)|
|Best bowling in an innings||7-76 KA Maharaj (Port Elizabeth 2017/18)||6-47 SR Harmer (Port Elizabeth 2017/18)|
Sunfoil Series table (as it stands):
Final Round fixtures
Dolphins v Warriors – Durban
Highveld Lions v Cape Cobras – Potchefstroom
Titans v Knights – Centurion
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