Dolphins will play Titans in Saturday’s Ram Slam final after the semi-final between them and the Cobras in Durban was washed out on Thursday night. Intermittent drizzle meant not even a toss was possible and with no reserve day, Dolphins advanced by virtue of their higher position on the league table. They finished second with 23 points, one more than Cobras, who had more wins than Dolphins but fewer points.
Cobras will feel particularly aggrieved at their fortunes because they squandered the chance to host this semi-final when they lost to Warriors in the final round of the group stage on Sunday. A victory for Cobras in that game would have put them above Dolphins. Instead, they were defeated by 18 runs and Dolphins smashed the table-topping Titans – who had already qualified for a home semi-final and fielded their reserves – by 69 runs to earn a bonus point. That point proved all the difference.
The weather has worked in the Dolphins’ favour. Four of the five home matches were no results because of rain – with no play possible in three of them – which helped them climb up the table. Irony has played its part too: the match that started and was then rain affected was against Cobras, who posted 172 for 4 and had Dolphins 8 for 1 in the third over when rain stopped play. As if that was not enough, rain ruined Cobras chances of playing in the final too.
Dolphins and Cobras are the only two teams to beat Titans in this year’s campaign but it must be remembered that the team Dolphins defeated was without several internationals. Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris and Dale Steyn were all rested but Titans still had international presence in Dean Elgar, David Wiese and Morne Morkel. They were bowled out for 79.
Whether Dolphins can repeat that on Saturday remains to be seen. Titans are the heavy favourites, given the array of superstars they can pick from and their selection will provide an interesting point of discussion.