The KZN Dolphins will look to get their 4-Day Series campaign off to the best possible start when they face the EP Warriors at St George’s Park in Gqeberha from Thursday.
The Dolphins came agonisingly close to a first piece of silverware this season when they lost the T20 Challenge final to the Northerns Titans and after a week off, the team is excited to begin their red-ball campaign.
Last season saw the Dolphins finish the 4-Day Series in fourth place but they did not lose a match with six draws and one win.
Dolphins captain Marques Ackerman wants his side to be more ruthless this season but not reckless.
“Something that we are trying to imprint in the Dolphins brand is that we want to be tough to beat,” he said. “If we are not going to win the game, we are not going to lose it and that means that if we are drawing games and winning a few then we are in contention to win the competition.
“The weather last season played quite a big part in us not finishing off a couple of the games so I think this season if we go unbeaten and have a few good wins then we will be right in the mix.”
Ackerman is happy with the work the Dolphins have put in going into these two red-ball matches before a return to white-ball cricket in December.
“The guys have worked really hard on their red-ball skills in the short space of time that we have had since the T20 competition.
“We had a week off after the T20 and it was a much-needed break for the guys but we have been putting in the hours and we’re excited to get this season’s red-ball campaign underway this week against the Warriors.”
The last time the Dolphins played in Nelson Mandela Bay they won by seven wickets but Ackerman knows the Warriors will be a difficult side to beat.
“We played there in the season before last and it was a really quick, green wicket so we are expecting the same with Glenton Stuurman and Marco Jansen in their attack.
“It’s going to be green and quick and we expect it to nip around a bit so that’s what we have been prepping for this past week.”
The Dolphins will go into the match without a number of key players with Keegan Petersen, Prenelan Subrayen and Keshav Maharaj all missing out through injury.
SJ Erwee is back in the mix after recovering from a side strain which will be a big boost for the Dolphins and the Proteas.