Durban – As the domestic cricket season edges closer, the Dolphins are deep into their final preparation with internal matches at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium ahead of their season opener against the Imperial Lions starting on Monday 2 November.
The season starts with a gruelling six rounds of four day cricket before a break over Christmas, with the Dolphins drawn seeing them pitted against the defending champions in their opening game.
“One of the nice things about our start to the season is that three of our first four four-day games are at home,” Dolphins four-day captain Marques Ackerman said.
“This is a positive thing for us because we want to try and play a different brand of cricket this year through making our home ground a place where we win games.
“There is a lot of time to win a game in four day cricket so we don’t want to focus on issues that are beyond our control here.”
The team from Johannesburg are the two-time defending 4-Day Domestic Series champions and will provide the toughest test for skipper Ackerman and his enthusiastic side.
“They do have a very good squad of players and we know that they will be difficult to beat.
“If you look at their side they have got a number of match-winners across the squad which will make them a strong contender again this season.
“We did beat them in Pietermaritzburg last season so we know that they are beatable and we will use that as motivation going into the opening game of the season,” Ackerman added.
The Dolphins turned their campaign around in the previous season when they won two and drew one of their final games of the competition and Ackerman sees the side building on those performances.
“We obviously had a good run at the end of last season and we have created a nice template on how we want to play our red ball cricket.
“So we are looking to take those good things, the advantages and the positive things from last season into this campaign and everyone is buying into the plans that we have so that is another positive.”
Facing the Lions in the first game of the season will be a difficult task but Ackerman believes it will be a great way for the side to gauge where they are ahead of the rest of the competition.
“It’s going to be a good test for us but it’s going to show us where we are and how our preparation went for the campaign.
“They have got some star players in their set-up and a tough team to beat home or away and they are a side that has a strong four-day cricket template,” he mentioned.