Dolphins v Cobras Ram Slam Betting: Pietersen back to fire hosts

KP is back for the Dolphins
KP is back for the Dolphins

Ed Hawkins previews the first semi-final from Durban on Wednesday afternoon with a returning hero set to take centre stage...

"Pietersen will relish strolling straight back into town and firing them to the final."

Recommended Bet
Back K Pietersen top Dolphins runscorer at 5/2

Dolphins v Cobras
Start time: 16.00
TV: live on Sky Sports 2

The Dolphins have received a major boost with the news that Kevin Pietersen will return to their ranks for the semi-final against the Cobras.

They leapt to the top of the charts with Pietersen in their ranks, winning their first four games. But when he departed they went on a horror run, losing four in a row to put qualification in doubt. A win only came against the Cobras last Friday.

"With Pietersen back we have some quality individuals," coach Lance Klusener said. "We just need to understand that just because he's back doesn't guarantee everything. That's important."

Cape Cobras
The Cobras do not enjoy such good team news. In a campaign ravaged by injuries and illness they have now lost Justin Kemp to pneumonia.

Kemp had been drafted into the squad to replace Kieron Pollard who suffered a knee injury. Omphile Ramela has been added as cover.

Not surprisingly the Cobras have had a mixed campaign and have won five, lost five. They lost their last two games as well.

First-innings runs
The last 12 first-innings scores at Durban's Kingsmead read (most recent first): 142-136-179-174-110-151-195-84-126-82-169-194. That is an average of 153. The score of 84 you see was a ten-over affair. The 82 was not but it does appear to be a one-off so can be discounted.

Match odds
The last time these sides met four days ago the Dolphins were narrow 1.9210/11 favourites and the Cobras were 1.981/1. Pietersen's return has made a difference with the Dolphins now 1.84/5 and the Cobras 2.166/5.

The Cobras were the bet in that previous encounter, also in Durban, on the basis of value so do we retain the faith?

Neither side look particularly strong with the ball - although it is possible that Dolphins could be boosted by the return of Kyle Abbott - and it is perhaps significant that both matches were won by the side chasing.

There is no toss bias at Kingsmead under lights in recent T20 history. That's a surprise but Dolphins had no worries getting to their target batting second against the Cobras last time out.

Dolphins looked the real deal when KP and Dwayne Bravo were in the side together but it should not be forgotten that the Cobras were the first side to beat them even with those two.

Still, the odds are about where they should be given the team changes, although we would expect the Cobras to have a spell on top.

Top Dolphins runscorer
Pietersen is the second highest runscorer in the tournament and is only 61 runs behind Quinton de Kock who has played six games more. Pietersen is available at 5/2 on the Sportsbook. Pietersen hit 59 to top score in the previous meeting. He will relish strolling straight back into town and firing them to the final. His ego won't allow a failure here.

Top Cobras runscorer
Cobras are likely to persist with Wayne Parnell (3/1) at the top of the order after another quickfire hit against the Dolphins. He didn't top score, though. Robin Peterson (14/1) managed that at No 8. Richard Levi (11/4) , who top scored in the previous meeting, will open with him followed by Andrew Puttick (3/1) at No 3.

Recommended Bet
Back K Pietersen top Dolphins runscorer at 5/2 (Sportsbook)

Ed Hawkins P/L

2015: +£339.60
2014: +315.10
2013: +250.80
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
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