Ed Hawkins previews the Friday afternoon clash in Durban as the Dolphins desperately seek to reignite their campaign...
"Given the form of these two sides it is arguable that the Cobras should be shorter. Likewise because the Dolphins have proved to be incapable of adequately replacing three big players."
Dolphins v Cobras
Start time: 16.00
TV: live on Sky Sports 2
The Dolphins remain in freefall. After winning their first four matches they have not won in four. Their hopes of a play-off berth remain in their hands but confidence has dwindled.
It is not surprising. The team which went off like a rocket is one that is completely different to the one taking the field now. No Kevin Pietersen, Kyle Abbott or Prenelan Subrayen. Each has left a huge hole.
Dwayne Bravo has been added to the team since but he is having a torrid time. He is averaging 13 with the bat and has taken only two wickets.
"It has been difficult," admitted coach, Lance Klusener. "I think we've been pretty hard on ourselves and taken some of the losses a bit personally.
The Cobras have been boosted by confirmation that opening batsman Richard Levi is fit after recovering from concussion.
Victory for the Cobras, who are second, will guarantee them a home match in the play-offs. This is despite defeat by the Warriors last time out.
Levi's return provides a conundrum for Cobras. In his absence Wayne Parnell has opened the batting and whacked 99 and 74 at rapid rates. So does Levi open again with Andrew Puttick with Parnell batting at No 3?
The last 11 first-innings scores at Durban's Kingsmead read (most recent first): 136-179-174-110-151-195-84-126-82-169-194. The 84 you see was a ten-over affair but the 82 (Dolphins) was not, proving that the Green Mamba still has some venom. That is an average of 154.
It was the Cobras who ended Dolphins' winning streak and sparked their collapse. For that match the Cobras were 2.111/10 outsiders.
This time the odds have not shifted as much as one would have thought. Indeed the market can't appear to make up its mind. The Dolphins are again jollies, but only just, at 1.9210/11. Cobras are 1.981/1.
Given the form of these two sides it is arguable that the Cobras should be shorter. Likewise because the Dolphins have proved to be incapable of adequately replacing three big players.
Cobras are not at full strength themselves considering the loss of Kieron Pollard but they seem to have coped much better. Justin Kemp and Parnell have stepped up to the plate.
The weather forecast is good and there is no toss bias even if Kingsmead has a reputation for being a tricky ground to chase on under lights. The Dolphins were shot out for 70 last time chasing 136 against the Titans.
Top Dolphins batsman
With 27, Bravo top scored in that game. David Miller was top bat in the previous game at Durban. Miller was second to KP's blade with 35 in the previous meeting between these sides. He is Dolphins' top runscorer without KP. Morne van Wyk is second.
Top Cape Cobras batsman
Parnell has shot up to third in the Cobras' lists with those two fifities. He has a strike rate of 139. Still, he some way to go to catch Levi who strikes at 161. He is ten runs behind leading scorer Puttick who is on 236.
Back Cobras at 1.981/1
Ed Hawkins P/L
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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