Dolphins coach Lance Klusener wants a more telling contribution from his batsmen when they welcome the Warriors to the Pietermaritzburg Oval for their Series encounter starting on Thursday. The 300-mark has not been satisfactory enough for the former Proteas all-rounder as he wants his team to set a far higher benchmark to aid their title ambitions. The KwaZuu-Natal franchise, who lost their opening game to the Highveld Lions and bounced back with a win over Knights, have crossed 300 twice in four attempts.
But they have also made just over 100 twice, leaving some cause for concern for Klusener. He says: ‘We did well in the last game, but still need to be scoring more runs as they will also help us gain more points. We’ve taken 20 wickets in the two games we played, which is good for us, but if anything we need to bat better.’ Morne Van Wyk remains absent due to a hand injury, with brother Divan set to deputise as skipper once more.
The Dolphins are expected to stick to the same XI that won in Kimberley, meaning Imran Tahir, whose first franchise game of the season yielded 12 wickets, and Keshav Maharaj are expected to pair up again on a spin-friendly track. Kusener says: ‘We have two very, very good spinners and it’s a nice place to go and bowl spin. But remember that they have a decent spinner in (Simon) Harmer as well. He’s done well there in the past, so we can expect a good spinning contest both ways.’ The Warriors will be without Sisanda Magala who has sustained a side strain, with his replacement depending on how the usually slow Pietermaritzburg Oval wicket looks.
Like Klusener, visiting coach Malibongwe Maketa is also more concerned about their batting, which has been the downfall in their twin losses from the first two rounds of games. He says: ‘It’s been a poor start for us and poor first innings batting performances have been the problem. That has put us under pressure from the outset. What the reason is I can’t tell you, but starting the season with limited overs cricket has contributed. Guys are still going at 100 miles an hour and you can’t do that. We need to reconnect and that’s the challenge.’