The Dolphins, South Africa’s T20 champions, kick off their CLT20 campaign on Saturday against the Australian champion Perth Scorchers.
Here is a detailed look at what we can expect from the Durban-based franchise during the tournament:
Brief Overview: The Lions and Titans’ fall from favour has afforded the Dolphins a maiden visit to the Champions League. Domestic Twenty20 champions in South Africa last season despite a relatively low-key squad, the Durban-based franchise will have a lot to prove in bridging the modest home front with a daunting international stage.
Key Strength: The other teams, bar the Cobras, will admit there is an unknown quality to the Dolphins. Very few names, other than Test seamer Kyle Abbott, are standout threats. Plenty, though, arrive as potentially underestimated entities.
Probable Weakness: A bit of a hit’n’giggle at a recent sixes tournament, which served the sponsors more than the game, might have generated a false sense of confidence among the squad. Clouting several sixes – off provincial seamers – across truncated boundaries in Pretoria is not nearly as big a challenge as the calculated hitting – against international fast bowlers – that will be required in Chandigarh and beyond.
Batsman To Watch: Inconsistent and frequently out of favour at the Lions, Vaughn van Jaarsveld has found a fresh lease on life at the Dolphins. Tournaments like this tend to rejuvenate jaded batsmen.
Bowler To Watch: All-rounder Robbie Frylinck bowls a heavy ball – and should be able to extract the additional bounce that has evaded so many other visiting seamers in India.
Squad: Daryn Smit, Daryn Dupavillon, Cody Chetty, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khayelihle Zondo, Robbie Frylinck, Morne van Wyk (captain), Kyle Abbott, Craig Alexander, Jonathan Vandiar, Keshav Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen, Cameron Delport, Andile Phehlukwayo, Sibonelo Makhanya.
Toughest Fixture: A Chennai Super Kings outfit lined with plenty of international talent is bound to daunt a Dolphins squad void of similar experience – at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on 22 September.
They Said: ‘We know that we can win trophies and we know how to do it. We just need to keep refining our skills and keep going from strength to strength,’ – batsman Vaughn van Jaarsveld.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/Backpagepix