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All roads lead to Centurion for franchise season finale

Domestic Cricket

JOHANNESBURG – The Multiply Titans and Warriors meet for the right to win the Momentum One-Day Cup title when they face each other in the final at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

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Chris Morris of the Titans celebrates with teammates the wicket of Kelly Smuts of the Warriors during the 2017 Momentum One Day Cup match between Titans and Warriors at the Sahara Park Willowmoore on 21 March 2017 Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

With several Proteas stars in action headed by AB de Villiers, the match, which is expected to be played in front of a bumper crowd, will draw the curtain on the domestic franchise cricket season.

Both sides are desperate to win the title – for contrasting reasons.

The hosts are seeking a limited-overs double, having already enjoyed a special debut campaign under former Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher in which they won the CSA T20 Challenge and ended a close second behind the VKB Knights in the Sunfoil Series.

The visitors were runners-up to the Titans in that 20-over final and have generally had a good season, even though they were the wooden spoonists in the four-day format. They have almost always competed and opposition coach Boucher is wary of that ability heading into yet another high-stakes affair. “It’s against our old rivals, whom we’ve had a few key games against in the last few months,” he said ahead of the clash.

“They’re pretty much a hardened team, they’re scrappers like you can’t believe, and they’ve done well to fight their way to the final.

“Hopefully we can pull one over them again, we certainly wouldn’t be taking them lightly.

“We understand they’re a good team and they’ll be up for an even bigger scrap considering it will be the last game of the season.”

The Titans boss also played down the hype of a double, insisting they were just focussing on going out there and winning another cricket game. “We’re not too worried about the double, but more the prospect of winning another game,” he added. “We’ve played some good cricket of late and hopefully we can cap it off with another good game, in front of a big crowd, on Friday.

“It’s an opportunity to round off a fantastic season for us and the guys will go all out to give their best, I have no doubt about that. Thankfully we’ve won a few trophies at the Titans so the guys do know how to win.”

Henry Davids could return from injury and has been included in the squad.

For Warriors coach, Malibongwe Maketa, his side are looking to reward all their recent hard work with a first title since 2009. They have come close this season and now they are determined to take that one step further. “We’re very happy to be in the final and to get another opportunity to win a trophy,” he said. “For us, we just go out and try and play as hard as we can each time we go out there.

“We’re not really looking for any credit or anything. The only thing we want to do is do ourselves justice in terms of how we play our cricket. We try and simplify it as much as we can and give our best at all times. It’s worked for us this season.”

The Warriors, who have reported a clean bill of health, have also been on the wrong end of several of their recent run-ins with the Titans this season. But Maketa insisted there was no such thing that they were due to beat their opponents this time.

“I don’t think one is due to you because you lost so many times,” he added. “It’s how hard you work and about getting reward for your efforts. Hopefully we will reap the rewards of our efforts in this game.”

The Titans gained an automatic berth in the final by ending top of the table during the league phase of the competition, while the Warriors had to beat the VKB Knights in a play-off that was decided on Monday.

CSA

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