The KZN Dolphins will go into their 4-Day Series match against the Northerns Titans in Centurion on Friday with confidence, despite being without seamer Ottniel Baartman.
Baartman picked up a hamstring injury in their drawn tournament opener with Western Province at Newlands last week.
The Dolphins have called up a loan player from Boland, 20-year-old seamer Achille Cloete, as cover.
Last week’s performance from the Dolphins was close to flawless and it was rain that eventually had the final say in the Mother City on the fourth day, forcing a draw.
Despite losing Baartman, the Dolphins will welcome back influential all-rounder Ruan de Swart to the squad. He will bolster their batting and bowling stocks for their trip to the Highveld.
One of the Dolphins assistant coaches, Mduduzi Mbatha, believes having De Swart back is going to be a massive bonus for the side.
“Although he’s not as quick as Ottniel, his control and what he produced with the ball for us last season was exciting,” Mbatha said.
“It is tough losing Ottniel but with Ruan back I think that we have some good depth in our bowling unit going into this one.
“We have Jason Smith and now Achille Cloete comes in, so we are going to be OK from a bowling perspective.”
Mbatha knows that whenever you travel to the capital it’s going to be a tough encounter, especially after the Titans went down in their competition opener to the EP Warriors.
“The Titans are always good, especially on their home ground, and we know that this week will be no different.
“We want to go out there and we want to compete against ourselves as a team and want to stay in control of the things we can control, and the guys are always looking to improve their skills.
“So, for us, it’s not necessarily playing the team but playing the conditions so we need to make sure that we are prepared and good to go in the Highveld.
“We’ll expect a quick pitch with some good carry along with a nice and quick outfield, so we’ve ticked our boxes in preparing for this one.
“They are going to be hungry to hit back after their loss but we are excited and are also keen to get our first win in the competition.”
Following the return of loan player Rubin Hermann to Mpumalanga, the Dolphins will use Keegan Petersen as their wicketkeeper.
Dolphins squad: Marques Ackerman (c), Bryce Parsons, Keegan Petersen (wk), Lifa Ntanzi, Khaya Zondo, Jason Smith, Sarel Erwee, Ruan de Swardt, Thando Ntini, Daryn Dupavilion, Kerwin Mungroo, Achille Cloete, Oridile Modimokoane, Eathan Bosch.