Friday, February 13, 2009
If there is one player in the Cape Cobras team who knows the danger Dolphins opener Sanath Jayasuriya poses in Friday night's Pro20 first-leg semi-final at Newlands, then it's captain Graeme Smith.
Smith has spent years devising strategies on how to dismiss the Sri Lankan master blaster, but has also had first-hand experience of the carnage Jayasuriya can cause when he is in the mood.
The veteran left-hander was certainly in the mood four years ago at Taunton when he and Smith shared a 197-run first-wicket partnership for English county side Somerset against the then all-conquering Australians. Jayasuriya struck 101 off 79 balls and Smith 108 off 74 balls and the Aussies were humbled by four wickets.
"Geez, that was an amazing game," said Smith. "The Aussies got over 340 and we both got hundreds. Sanath obviously doesn't talk much between overs, so he was just standing on the one side and me on the other, and we were just flaying away.
"It was great to be able to just watch and enjoy and not having to worry about trying to get him out. He played some amazing shots that day. There's no doubt Sanath is a match-winner. If he gets off to a flyer, he just takes the pressure off all the remaining batsmen. He is also a more than useful bowler."
Jayasuriya only joined the Dolphins camp on Thursday, having represented Sri Lanka in a Twenty20 international against India as late as Wednesday. Smith, who had the entire week to familiarise himself with the Cobras' set-up, believes Jayasuriya's late arrival might just play into the Cobras' hands.
TEAMS FOR NEWLANDS:
Cobras: Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, JP Duminy, Henry Davids, Justin Ontong, Richard Levi, Andrew Puttick (w/k), Roger Telemachus, Rory Kleinveldt, Claude Henderson, Charl Langeveldt.
Dolphins (from): Sanath Jayasuriya, Hashim Amla, HD Ackerman, Grant Rowley, Ahmed Amla (capt), Jon Kent, Pierre de Bruyn, Daryn Smit (w/k), Johann Louw, Alfonso Thomas, Quinton Friend, Yusuf Abdulla, Imraan Khan.
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