Knights, Dolphins need to make up lost ground
It is back to the whites for the franchise cricketers this weekend as the Sunfoil Series resumes with the Chevrolet Knights taking on the Sunfoil Dolphins at Chevrolet Park.
The teams go into the match with the Chevrolet Knights in third position on the log, already 19 points adrift of the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras. The Sunfoil Dolphins are hard on their heels, less than a point behind, but, with both the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Nashua Titans lurking close behind with matches in hand, both will be hard pressed to maintain these positions.
Historically the Chevrolet Knights have had the better of their coastal rivals in this format, winning seven of the previous seventeen encounters and the Dolphins just three, with seven drawn. That was, in fact, the result when the Sunfoil Dolphins visited Bloemfontein last season. The Sunfoil Dolphins finished on 245 for seven, chasing a target of 319.
The seamers did most of the damage in that match with Mthokozisi Shezi and Robbie Frylinck both claiming a five-wicket haul in the Chevrolet Knights’ first innings. Quinton Friend responded with a ‘fifer’ of his own for the home side.
The top-order batsmen had their work cut out, with most of the runs for the Chevrolet Knights coming down the order. Morne van Wyk contributed 79, and the Knights will be looking forward to his return after he missed the entire Momentum One-Day Cup due to a shoulder injury.
Daryn Smit was the cornerstone of the Sunfoil Dolphins batting in that match last season with scores of 95 and 56 not out. He has been one of their better batsmen this season, but the player to catch the eye has been Cody Chetty, who is averaging over fifty.
He is the only Sunfoil Dolphins batsman to have passed 200 runs thus far. Kyle Abbott, with thirteen wickets at an average of 17, has been the outstanding bowler for the men from KwaZulu-Natal.
The Chevrolet Knights go into this match without star allrounder Ryan McLaren, who is in the Proteas Blue Label Telecoms squad for the T20 series against New Zealand, while the Sunfoil Dolphins will miss David Miller and Lonwabo Tsotsobe for the same reason.
The weather has been disastrous for the Chevrolet Knights, with all three of their away matches completely washed out. The Sunfoil Dolphins have also lost a match to the weather, and both teams will be relieved that the current rules do at least hand out five points to teams in this situation.
The forecast for this match is much better, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high twenties forecast for the four days. There may be thundershowers in the evening, but this should not adversely affect play.