Giant killers SWD confident ahead of T20 KO quarter-final against mighty Titans
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Cape Town – South Western Districts are looking to continue their giant-killing act when they face the Titans in the first CSA T20 Knockout quarter-final on Tuesday in Kimberley.
SWD, who are set to play in Division 2 of the newly-formed CSA first-class structure, pulled off a major surprise when they finished top of Pool A. The Oudsthoorn-based beat their more-fancied neighbours Western Province in the group play, thereby eliminating the power-packed Lions team in the process. WP were the other team to progress from Pool A.
The Titans, meanwhile, who were the most successful team of the previous franchise era found the going tough in their Pool B encounters in Bloemfontein. Despite boasting players of the calibre of Proteas Men's Test captain Dean Elgar and former Proteas limited-overs spinner Aaron Phangiso within their ranks, the Tshwane just managed to scrape through their group by finished second behind the local Free State Knights team.
SWD will once again bank on their impressive new-ball pairing of Herschelle America and Renaldo Meyer to set the tone upfront.
America, in particular, was outstanding during the first round as he rose to the summit of the wicket takers chart after the completion of Pool A. It was an incredible achievement for the right-arm seam bowler had never played T20 cricket at a professional level before.
Furthermore, SWD's chances have been further bolstered with the arrival of their overseas professional Leus du Plooy. The former SA u-19 batter has been playing for Derbyshire in the English County Championship the past few seasons, where he has developed a solid T20 record of 1460 runs at an average of 31.30 and strike-rate of 123.51.
Du Plooy's presence will certainly solidify the SWD middle-order where they already boast the talented Yaseen Valli, captain Jean du Plessis and Andre Malan.
Garry Hampson, the SWD coach, is confident ahead of Tuesday’s clash in Kimberley.
“Although we respect the Titans as one the leading teams in the country we are looking forward to the challenge and are preparing to meet them head-on.
“The players gain a lot of confidence from the pool stages – ending top of the pool – and we learn from our mistakes and working hard to accomplish another upset”, he said.
The match will start at 10am and will be broadcast live on SuperSport (Channel 212).
WP play the Knights in the second quarter-final at 2:30pm. It will be WP's new coach Salieg Nackerdien first match in charge since taking over from Ashwell Prince. Assistant coach Faiek Davids ran proceedings during the first round in Kimberley on an interim basis.
The two remaining semi-finals will be played on Wednesday between Dolphins and Warriors (10am) before the Rocks and Dragons face off at 2:30pm.