Cricket feast at Newlands

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iol spt dec8 Titans-Cobras

A prospect larger than life is about to be unleashed tomorrow at Newlands when the Titans travel to Cape Town to face the Cobras in a One-Day Cup semifinal encounter with the Lions awaiting the winner in next Friday’s final.

Picturesque Newlands will be packed to a capacity with a mouth- watering clash looming between number one fast bowler Dale Steyn and South Africa’s ODI and T20 skipper AB de Villiers.

Both played important roles in the Proteas’ Test series victory Down Under.

Steyn’s 10 overs of sheer pace could go a long way in deciding the contest while De Villiers on the other hand will look to neutralise the paceman’s threat and then unleash the array of strokes that took the game away from the Aussies in the final Test.

Throw in the Morkel brothers and batsmen Jacque Rudolph and the Titans have their best possible squad.

The Cobras have their own big guns to show off in Test skipper Graeme Smith, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander all ready to pull on the dark blue kit of the Cape outfit and make them favourites in tomorrow’s clash.

All that can be said is that the fans are in for one heck of a semi-final game with the entire attack that bowled South Africa to victory on show .

Speaking yesterday, Titans coach Matthew Maynard shared similar sentiments and believes the team that wins tomorrow will go on and win the competition.

“It does not get bigger than seven out of the 11 that played in the last Test present. Newlands, we hear, will be packed and they will be in for a treat,” said Maynard.

“It’s going to be fantastic. We are quite confident of our chances. The team had an intense training sessions yesterday and are looking good.”

“Morné [Morkel] is at the peak of his form while AB [de Villiers] showed the recent form he has been in. Jacque [Rudolph] had a bit of a tough time in Australia but is hitting the ball as good as I have seen him. He looks in good nick.”

With De Villiers, Rudolph and Morné Morkel all guaranteed starters, Maynard, who had been struggling to field a fit XI in the past few weeks has the dilemma of leaving out a few players who got the team this far.

“Yeah. it is a headache to choose a squad when the national players are around. We are close to finalising our final XI but we don’t want to give too much away. We will go to Newlands and look at the wicket before making up our minds,” added Maynard.

Based on the last encounter where the Titans bowlers were taken to the cleaners, Morné Morkel will surely replace youngster JP de Villiers while CJ de Villiers could make way for Rowan Richards.

But with De Villiers and Rudolph coming in, it looks most likely either Heino Kuhn or Mangaliso Mosehle will make way with De Villiers taking over the keeping duties.

Maynard though is playing his cards close to his chest. The coach could be thinking along the lines of packing the team with batsmen and leaving the likes of skipper Martin van Jaarsveld and Henry Davids to share the fifth bowling role. - Pretoria News


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