THE Hollywoodbets Dolphins and bizhub Highveld Lions clash in the only Sunfoil Series match this week with the round eight clash at the City Oval set to go some way towards shaping the season when it begins in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
The hosts climbed top of the table after their high-scoring draw against the VKB Knights last weekend, while the visitors are fifth, but knowing all too well that a win could propel them to the summit.
Just over 10 points are between the two teams, while just under 20 separate top and bottom-placed BuildNat Cape Cobras in what is shaping up to be one of the tightest four-day seasons ever.
Dolphins coach Grant Morgan is not too fussed about the bigger picture, though, and wants his side to focus on what they need to do in this game. “Everything can change very quickly,” he said. “I mean we can drop from first to fifth, so we’re not looking at that. We’re looking at doing the small things well and hopefully that will help us achieve the desired result.”
The tightness of the competition also means that teams will be looking to play more attacking cricket in these remaining three rounds. Morgan knows all too well what to expect.
“We don’t want to be afraid of losing and we don’t want to think of the things that can go wrong, but we rather want to think of what can go right,” the Dolphins boss said. “It’s all about having the right mindset.
“We’re playing well at the moment and hopefully we can build on that this weekend.”
The Dolphins will be without Andile Phehlukwayo for the clash as he moves on to national duty. But Keshav Maharaj is back after his impressive exploits with the Standard Bank Proteas.
The Lions too will be without some key men. Mangaliso Mosehle, fresh from his maiden Sunfoil Series ton, is also now with the South Africa team, while Hardus Viljoen is ruled out with a groin problem.
However, Stephen Cook is back and will captain the team.
The Gauteng franchise have also recruited Beuran Hendricks on loan and he is likely to feature in KwaZulu-Natal.
Geoffrey Toyana’s men drew their last match when they were held by the Multiply Titans in a game they largely dominated.
But they will now be eying that one win that could throw the title race even further open.
“There were a lot of positives in Benoni,” their coach Geoffrey Toyana said. “We need to carry on that momentum in Pietermaritzburg in what is a big game, I mean the only one of the round and with the competition so tight, it’s important for us to do well.”
HEAD TO HEAD – Hollywoodbets Dolphins v bizhub Highveld Lions
Matches Played 25
Dolphins Win 06
Lions Win 09