Johannesburg – The Titans and the Cobras One-day Cup clash at Boland Park on Wednesday will determine who goes through to the knock-out stages of the One-Day Cup.
A brief glance at the scorecard in a recent match at Boland Park shows that Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick need just 10.5 overs to propel the hosts to a 10-wicket win against the Knights.
The Titans cannot afford any errors.
The visitors have 21 points after nine matches. If the hosts win, and the Knights and the Dolphins coast to victory against the Highveld Lions and the Warriors, the Titans' campaign will end with a whimper and they will be knocked out of the One-Day Cup campaign.
“One of the things that is true about the Titans is that if we have a clear picture what we need to do to win a competition, we perform at the best of our ability,” said Titans' coach Matthew Maynard.
Cape Cobras' captain Justin Ontong believes the hosts are capable of replacing the log leaders, the Highveld Lions, at the summit of the table if the latter slip against the Knights in Kimberley and the Cape Cobras win against the Titans, with a bonus point.
One of the key players for the Cape Cobras in the bonus-point win against the Knights in Paarl, Justin Kemp, is battling with a hamstring niggle and management hopes he will be fit for this clash.
“One of the keys to our improved performances is that our top- and middle-order have improved in establishing significant partnerships,” said Ontong.
“Richard, Dane Villas and Stiaan van Zyl have been some of our stand-out performers.
“Our bowling attack has also increased our strike-rate in the first power play, especially since we entrusted the new ball to our experienced duo of Johann Louw and Charl Langeveldt,” he said.
The Titans have excelled as a batting unit in the One-Day Cup, but their bowling attack has been exposed on occasion.
A minor injury crisis has contributed to their woes, as Paul Harris (broken finger) and Ethy Mbahlati (grade 2 hamstring-tear) have been ruled out for the second half of the campaign.
“JP de Villiers did well for us in his first and most recent game. Eden Links performed admirably against the Dolphins,” said Maynard.
“Roelof van der Merwe is also back to his very best. He has the attitude to succeed at the highest level,” he said.
The performance by the Titans' spinners and the state of the pitch might decide the outcome of the game on Wednesday.
But Ontong is clear that, if the Cape Cobras want to replace the Highveld Lions as the number one team on the log, they will have to use the first power play to rattle the strong Titans top-order.
The match starts at 3pm on Wednesday.
Cobras: Justin Ontong (capt), Richard Levi, Andrew Puttick, Stiaan van Zyl, Mohammad Vallie, Justin Kemp, Dane Villas, Alastair Gray, Johann Louw, Lizaad Williams, Charl Langeveldt.
Titans: Martin van Jaarsveld (capt), Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids, Mangaliso Mosehle, Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Eden Links, JP de Villiers, Rowan Richards, Shaun von Berg, CJ de Villiers. – Sapa