JOHANNESBURG - The Titans wrapped up training for their RamSlam T20 Challenge semi-final on Tuesday content that they’ve prepared in the best way possible and ready to resume dominating the tournament.
There had been question marks about the team put out by the defending champions and the performance against the Dolphins last Sunday when the previously dominant Titans lost by 89 runs, but coach Mark Boucher and captain Albie Morkel are sure that the players are in a good space ahead of Wednesday's semi-final at SuperSport Park against the Warriors.
“We put out teams to try and get through to the semis and once we’d achieved that, teams that we still thought could win and could compete, but that didn’t happen,” Boucher said about the Titans sides that lost their last two round-robin matches.
“We took into account the weather in Durban. I didn’t want guys to be in Cape Town, travel, play, then travel, and have one day to prepare for this semi-final. We were in a position to prepare in our conditions for a game at home and have a day off in between, so we come into the semi-final fresh and that’s what I did,” Boucher added.
As for any momentum that may have been lost after an eight-match unbeaten run, neither Boucher no Morkel are concerned.
“People might think we lost momentum; the game in Cape Town (against the Cobras) we never scored enough runs, but we could’ve and should’ve won it with the ball. On Sunday we played a completely new team,” said Morkel.
“I don’t think (the defeats) will have any bearing on how we play; it’s a new game, a semi-final, we’ll pick what we think is our strongest XI, and if you can’t get up for that game, there is something wrong with you.
"We’ve lost our last two, yes, but we’ve played some fantastic cricket this season, so we want to take our good performances out of that into the game on Wednesday.”
The Titans clearly think that their best XI for the semi-final doesn’t need Dale Steyn, who, according to Boucher, will continue his training to get more overs in his legs ahead of the Test matches against Zimbabwe, India and Australia.
Such is the Titans’ depth, though, that Morne Morkel, who had his first game back last Sunday since tearing an abdominal muscle in the first Test against Bangladesh at the start of October, is included in the squad in Steyn’s stead.
“Morne came back and really hit his straps in the first game he played,” said Boucher.
The Titans are also bolstered by a significantly stronger batting line-up that includes AB de Villiers, and while respectful of the recent run of the Warriors that saw them win three matches in a row to reach the semi-finals, the Titans are confident of returning to Centurion to contest the final on Saturday.
“Their senior players have come to the party,” said Boucher of the Warriors’ recent run of form that has seen JJ Smuts, Colin Ingram and Christiaan Jonker produce excellent performances with the bat.
“As soon as their top guns start scoring, they are always in with a shout. They’ve become used to playing almost ‘finals’ cricket because they’ve needed to win their last three games, which have been like a final for them.
“They are a streetwise team, we respect they have some great players, but we are more worried about what we do on the day, how we execute. If we rock up and play to 100 percent of our ability then there shouldn’t be a team that competes with us.”
Wednesday's match starts at 6pm.