By securing a comfortable 27-run win over the table-topping Highveld Lions in their last match at Willowmoore Park, the Titans attack showed that they are able to put the best batsmen under pressure.
Ethy Mbhalati ensured that the Lions were always on the back foot by removing openers Alviro Petersen and Chris Gayle in his first two overs and he was also excellent in his two overs at the death.
Junior Dala, David Wiese and Darren Sammy have each brought their own special strengths to the attack over the last couple of games and the Dolphins batsmen should find the going a lot tougher than when they plundered 194 for five in Durban two weeks ago.
“Junior has come in and bowled really well, and he’s quick too. He’s worked relentlessly on his skills and I’m very happy he’s had the opportunity and he’s taken it. Ethy was outstanding at Willowmoore Park. He has very clear plans now, specifically at the death, and his skill level is very good now after plenty of work in the off-season. When skill and strategy meet, that’s when you get success.
“David Wiese is our banker, he puts it together most games. I think we’ve bowled pretty well in the competition, barring just a couple of games,” Titans coach Rob Walter told The Citizen yesterday.
While the Titans have tightened up considerably in the field, their batting is still a work in progress. The decision to relieve Henry Davids of the captaincy has paid off, with the opener the leading run-scorer in the competition with 280 at an average of 40 and a strike-rate of 142.
Dean Elgar, who has scored 213 runs but is more of a worker than a blaster of the ball, has been rested and Davids will be looking for more support from fellow top-order batsmen Theunis de Bruyn and Qaasim Adams, before the big hitters like Wiese and Sammy, who is yet to show his prowess with the bat, are unleashed down the order.
Walter mentioned in the interview that while the Dolphins will be equally desperate in Benoni, they may lack confidence after a horror run that has seen them lose two in a row, while a third match was rained off after they had been bundled out for just 82 by the Knights.
The Dolphins can look forward to the return of Cody Chetty, their best batsman in this campaign, from a hamstring injury but whether they can give their attack enough runs to defend remains to be seen.
Cameron Delport, their quickest-scoring batsman, has been dropped and captain Morne van Wyk will be acutely aware that he needs to step up now after scoring just 79 runs in seven innings.
Fast bowler Craig Alexander will be the chief attacking threat for the Dolphins, while seamers Robbie Frylinck and Dwayne Bravo and spinner Prenelan Subrayen will be their other key bowlers.
Titans: Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Qaasim Adams, Graeme van Buuren, David Wiese, Darren Sammy, Heinrich Klaasen, Shaun von Berg, Eden Links, Junior Dala, Ethy Mbhalati, Cobus Pienaar.
Dolphins: Morné van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Cody Chetty, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Dwayne Bravo, Khaya Zondo, Robbie Frylinck, Andile Phehlukwayo, Prenelan Subrayen, Keshav Maharaj, Craig Alexander, Chad Bowes, Brandon Scullard, Mbasa Gqadushe.