CENTURION – Having played at just “60%” of their potential, Farhaan Behardien said the Titans were more than happy to take a draw from their opening Four-Day Series match against a robust Dolphins team.
The Titans’ stand-in skipper described the match which was eventually called off on Saturday evening with the Titans eight wickets down and still 33 runs short of victory as a see-saw affair and one in which they created a number of chances, but failed to press home that advantage.
“If we had bowled 10 fewer extras (in the Dolphins second innings), taken that catch off Vaughn (van Jaarsveld), that period after lunch (on day three) if we conceded 50 instead of 80 we’d have won the game, there was only 30 runs in it at the end,” explained Van Jaarsveld.
But by the same token, the Dolphins could too could point to some missed opportunities and the disappointment etched on their captain Keshav Maharaj’s face when the umpires said the light was too bad for any further play on Saturday evening spoke to how much hard work they had put in.
“It could have been a different story without the dropped catches,” said Maharaj.
The main culprit in that category was young Kerwin Mungroo, who dropped a sitter at fine leg on the last day when Theunis de Bruyn misjudged a pull off Okuhle Cele on 4. De Bruyn went on to make 67 occupying the crease for nearly three hours.
But Maharaj was keener to take the positives out of the match in which the Dolphins were on top of the defending champions for lengthy periods.
“I’m excited, it’s been a long time since we’ve shown what it would take to get higher up the table in four-day cricket; we showed good character,” said Maharaj who produced valuable contributions with bat - 41 in the first innings - and ball - claiming five wickets in the match and bowling 57 overs.
There were encouraging signs for the Dolphins with the performances of their young opening duo; Jason Oakes and Grant Roelofson, while all-rounder Calvin Savage is one to watch this season if he can stay injury free.
“Calvin’s been exceptional, he’s worked really hard in the off-season in England. I’m just glad his hard work is paying off; it showed with his batting also in the second innings, those 68 runs he made were pivotal to the whole situation,” said Maharaj.
That innings along with the four wickets he took in the Titans’ first innings caught the eye of the home side too, with Behardien describing Savage’s role as “massive.”
The Titans’ attention will now switch to T20 cricket with a 15-man squad departing tonight for a six-team tournament in Abu Dhabi, where they will be favourites to win the first prize of $150 000.@shockerhess