Dolphins coach Grant Morgan is expecting a hungry Highveld Lions side to pitch up at Kingsmead in Durban this week, trying to avenge what happened the last time the two met in a 4-Day Domestic Series encounter in the final game of last year.
The two lock horns in a Round Seven meeting fresh from their meeting in the previous round when the KwaZulu-Natal side triumphed by 279 runs inside three days in Johannesburg.
The victory was the first of the season for Morgan’s men – one that lifted them off the foot of the table to fifth – and left him proud of their effort.
‘We had to try a few different things and it came off for us, we ended up getting the result and the reaction of the players was just excellent,’ he said. ‘We were just excited by the fact that we showed how our depth can work for us. It was just a good performance overall.’
Now they will have to do it all over against the second-placed Lions, and Morgan expects the Lions to come roaring back on the coast.
‘Absolutely (we’re expecting them to come back hard against us),’ the Dolphins mentor added. ‘They would have been hurting by that loss. That’s a key to coaching, it’s not always about forward defence or backward defence or how to execute certain shots.
‘It’s about trying to keep a mindset of success. Do you rest on your laurels because you’ve done well, or if you bought a new house, do you allow dirt to lie around and scratches to build up everywhere? It’s a case of personal pride and we’ll be trying to maintain that pride this week.’
Lions boss Enoch Nkwe tried to avoid the previous game too much, saying they were now hoping to bounce back strongly come Friday.
He also wants to keep the pressure on runaway leaders the Cape Cobras, who are more than 30 points clear at the summit.
‘What happened in the last game was pretty disappointing and not something we want to dwell on too much,’ he stated. ‘It’s a brand new year, we’re feeling refreshed and focused, better than the last game. We really want to bounce back strongly and put pressure on the Cobras.’
Asked what went wrong at the Wanderers Stadium, Nkwe concluded: ‘The Dolphins were way on top of us in that game. They outplayed us in every department. I mean, they played very good cricket over the three days, they put us under pressure and we were poor.
‘We want to quickly forget about it and we have been seeing that from our team meetings. We look forward to doing better in Durban this week.’
HEAD TO HEAD: Dolphins vs Highveld Lions
Matches Played 29
Dolphins Win 07
Lions Win 09
Dolphins – 567-9 (Johannesburg 2011-12)
Lions – 553-8 (Potchefstroom 2007-08)
Dolphins – 83 (Potchefstroom 2016-17)
Lions – 85 (Durban 2013-14)
Highest Individual Score
Dolphins – 208 HM Amla (Johannesburg 2011-12)
Lions – 186 AN Petersen (Johannesburg 2011-12)
Best bowling in an innings
Dolphins – 8-30 R Frylinck (Potchefstroom 2016-17)
Lions – 9-33 K Rabada (Johannesburg 2014-15)
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix