The Titans looked set to end their RamSlam T20 Challenge losing streak in the triple-header at Kingsmead at the weekend when they needed just five runs from five balls to beat the Cape Cobras, Qaasim Adams’ scintillating 68 off 36 balls and David Wiese’s 24 not out off seven balls taking them to the brink of a testing target of 170.
But Wiese, having just launched the first ball of Kieron Pollard’s final over for six, then holed out to long-on off the second delivery and Sammy failed to make contact with the next two balls before also being caught at long-on. Roelof van der Merwe then played and missed at the last ball of the match and Pollard had bowled the Cobras to a sensational victory.
“It’s the culmination of those four games prior to the Durban game and to then get so close, it’s hugely disappointing to slip up,” Walter told The Citizen at SuperSport Park yesterday. “What I really like about Darren is that he has a massive sense of personal responsibility for the performance. He’s unhappy that the other West Indians are performing for their teams and he hasn’t. I don’t doubt that he’s giving his best, he really cares, and that’s what’s most important.”
If Wiese could have just hit the final-over low full toss he received from Pollard for six like the previous ball or even along the ground, then the Titans would probably have won the game, but Walter said it was important not to forget how the all-rounder’s heroics had dragged them back into the game in the first place.
“David has had a real impact since coming back from Australia, with the ball in the first match and now with the bat. He almost got us there against the Cobras and in an ideal world he would have hit a full toss for six – and in terms of his future development he must win games like that – but we mustn’t overlook the good stuff from him before that,” the coach said.
The Titans have two games this week – against the Highveld Lions in Benoni on Friday night and versus the Warriors at SuperSport Park on Sunday afternoon – and Walter said there would not be wholesale changes, although a couple of fresh faces could get a chance to show what they can do now that the pressure of qualifying for the playoffs is gone. The coach is likely to leave Theunis de Bruyn at the top of the order to utilise the powerplay better with his natural strokeplay and Dean Elgar at three to rotate the strike after six overs.
The big positive from the Durban defeat was Adams hitting top form when the game looked lost for the Titans, the 30-year-old left-hander hitting four fours and five sixes as he hammered the Titans back into contention.
“It was great to see the different options Q had – he hit over the covers off the back foot, double-stepped to hit over the covers, hit over long-on and long-off and paddled the ball. It was nice to see that freedom of expression, it highlighted what he’s capable of. It’s also hopefully shown him that he can make a play when we’re in massive trouble, that he can go beyond a small 20 or 30,” Walter said.
The coach said he was also delighted with the good bowling produced by spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Roelof van der Merwe.
“We’re trying our best to take the emotion out of the results, to look non-emotionally at the stats, the areas that were good and the areas that need more work. If you’re emotional then you overlook the good stuff purely because we lost, but we were one hit away from winning the game,” Walter pointed out.