Cape Town - A place in the final of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge will be up for grabs when the Warriors host the Titans in a play-off in East London on Wednesday.
The winner of the match will meet the Lions in the tournament final on Sunday at the Wanderers, with both teams also qualifying for the T20 Champions League later this year.
Last season the Titans needed a super over to defeat the Knights in the play-off and went on to beat the Lions in the final.
As defending champions, the Titans will head into the match as favourites and they will also have the services of batsman Herschelle Gibbs, who has signed on a short-term basis following the departure of New Zealander Scott Styris.
“I spoke to Herschelle prior to the tournament, but he was obviously recovering from his hamstring (injury) at that stage. Then I spoke to him again this week and he said yes,” said Titans coach Matt Maynard
At the age of 39, Gibbs has a wealth of experience, having played 185 T20 matches for South Africa as well as clubs here and in Bangladesh, India, England and Australia, scoring just over 4 000 runs.
“The impact he can have on the dressing room is a factor as well, because he’s an incredibly positive person, and I believe a great signing for us,” said Maynard.
Gibbs’ addition to the Titans will bring some more Cape Town flavour to the clash for the Titans, who will also field Alfonso Thomas, Henry Davids and Johannesburg-born Farhaan Behardien, who grew up in the Mother City.
Ashwell Prince, Adrian McClaren and skipper Davy Jacobs are players in the Warriors squad aged over 30 - and Jacobs feels that the team’s mix of youth and experience has been a major factor in their success.
“The experience is very important. Experience is what you bank on in play-off matches, but you can never under-estimate the exuberance of youth, players like Aya (Gqamane) and Christiaan (Jonker).
“Ideally you want a blend of youth and experience because the experienced players can guide the youngsters in tight situations and talk them through it,” said Jacobs.
The Warriors won the T20 title in 2010 and will be hoping English international Samit Patel can help them repeat that this year.
“He has fitted in nicely. He backs himself more than anyone I know. He is just so positive.
“He is similar to a lot of guys in our team. He wants the ball all the time and wants to make a play. It has been a long time since we have had an overseas pro and we will hopefully be looking to use him in all formats in the future,” said Jacobs.