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|NJ Van den Bergh||42||62||4||0||67.74|
We are almost at the fag end of the Momentum One Day Cup and the qualifaction scenarios for most of the teams seem crystal clear. Position at the top two spot on the points table respectively, Dolphins and Lions seem all set to qualify for the playoffs. While the Dolphins already have a berth confirmed, the Lions are need a win to confirm a slot. The Lions have an extra game available with them so they shouldn't be concerned about qualifying for the playoffs. Dolphins and Lions are set to take on each other in the top of the table contest on Thursday, March 5th, at Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban.
The Lions, for most part of the tournament, played with a depleted side as most of their players were busy playing for the national side. And if we consider that, it certainly seems surprising that they have done so well in the tournament. They are placed at the second spot on the ladder with 22 points to their name in six matches. They have a fantastic net run-rate of 0.656, which provides them the cushion if things get a little tricky towards the end.
The Lions are coming off a close win in their previous match, in which they defeated Warriors by a narrow margin of nine runs. Shortened to 39 overs at first, the match then shortened to 35 overs with Warriors needing 250. The Warriors batted well and showed heart, but Lions bowlers kept picking up wickets at regular intervals as they restricted Warriors to 240. While all their bowlers were expensive, they all picked up wickets and that is what made the difference at the end. Aaron Phangiso and Ayavya Myoli both picked up a couple of wickets each.
Earlier with the bat, the Lions were terrific. After having a dismal run while playing for South Africa, Reeza Hendricks announced himself back into the Lions' squad with a superb century. He scored 112 off just 105 deliveries and was ably supported by Dominic Hendricks who contributed with 70 off 80. These two players played for most part of Lions' innings and their other batsmen didn't get a chance to contribute much. Wihan Lubbe scored 20 off 14. Lions' batting was doing well even in the absence of Reeza Hendricks. Now that Hendricks has returned back to their, their batting looks even more potent. They have a few issues with their bowling and they would like to address them going forward in the tournament. Having said that, considering the form they are in, the issues shouldn't be concerning them much and they are certainly going to present Dolphins a new set of challenges.
Sarel Erwee, Grant Roelofsen, Marques Ackerman, C Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Sibonelo Makhanya, Senuran Muthusamy, R Frylinck, P Subrayen, D Dupavillon, Okuhle Cele.
Dolphins have without a doubt been the best side of the tournament so far and their top of the table position reflects that. With six wins two their name, they have 26 points and have already qualified for the playoffs. Their net run-rate of 1.044 is best amongst all teams in the tournament.
After losing to Cobras in what was their third game of the tournament, the Dolphins stepped up their game and posted four back to back losses. There were a match wherein their batting failed to fire like it was doing, their bowlers picked up the opportunity and ensured a promising win as Dolphins defended a total of just 183.
In their previous match, the Dolphins defeated the Titans, who are arguably the best on-paper team of the tournament. Beating the defeating champions would have instilled a lot of self-belief and confidence among the players, not that it wasn't already there. Batting first, the Dolphins posted a towering total of 308 runs on the board. Their bowlers did a terrific job of keeping Titans quiet for most part of the second innings as they defended the total by 35 runs after the match was shortened to 46 overs. Keshav Maharaj, who is unlikely to be a part of their team in the upcoming contest, was the pick of their bowlers as he returned with impressive figures of 3 for 49.
Ryan Rickelton, NJ Van den Bergh, Reeza Hendricks, Dominic Hendricks, Wihan Lubbe, Delano Potgieter, Johannes Diseko, Aaron Phangiso, Bjorn Fortuin, Eldred Hawken, Ayavuya Myoli.
The anticipation for the top of the table contests is always huge and it is no different this time around as well. While a few South Africa's national players won't be featuring for either side in this contest, no team would want to take the other side lightly. The two sides have done incredibly well in the touranment and it is difficult to pick between the sides. Apart from Kesha Maharaj, the Dolphins do not have anyone who would be out representing South Africa and the Lions, as well, are likely to play with the combination same as their previous match's. While Dolphins have won more matches as compared to Lions in the tournament so far, we think the Lions are a better unit, especially with Reeza Hendricks back in their side, at least on paper. Therefore, betting on their win would be the way to go in this all-important contest.
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