The Cobras, by thoroughly dominating the early stages of the competition, finished top of the log to host the final, but they lost two of their four games after the Christmas break and have also been disrupted by SA A call-ups and injuries. The Cobras also have not seen action in a week, while the Titans have played three games in five days and look a more settled unit.
Previous results are also in the Titans’ favour as they won both their round-robin matches against the Cobras this season.
But the past probably matters little come the day of the final and the Cobras have some terrific limited-overs players.
Coach Paul Adams told The Citizen yesterday that he was still waiting on the fitness of Justin Kemp, while the fact that Rory Kleinveldt and Dane Vilas’s wives are due to give birth any day is also causing some selectorial anxiety.
Adams stressed the need for a good start, whether with bat or ball, and he will be pleased that he has the prolific Andrew Puttick at the top of the order, as well as Stiaan van Zyl and the destructive Richard Levi.
Opening bowler Beuran Hendricks will be eager to show that he has not lost the skills that earned him an international debut last summer.
The Titans lost two games on the trot to lose home advantage for the playoff against the Dolphins but replied to that dip in form, after winning five in a row, with a devastating all-round performance to ensure a repeat of last season’s washed out final against the Cobras.
Dean Elgar has taken charge of the top-order batting, while Qaasim Adams, David Wiese and Albie Morkel have shown how dangerous they can be in the middle-order. Fast bowlers JP de Villiers and Junior Dala were particularly impressive in the playoff and their ability to take wickets up front could be crucial to the outcome.
Given the uncertainty around the Cobras’ batting line-up – Puttick, wicketkeeper Dane Vilas and captain Justin Ontong are probably the only certainties to play – the Titans will feel they can put the home side under pressure by getting early wickets.
Cape Cobras: Andrew Puttick, Richard Levi, Stiaan Van Zyl, Omphile Ramela, Justin Ontong, Dane Vilas, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Justin Kemp, Rory Kleinveldt, Robin Peterson, Mthokozisi Shezi, Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Mohammed Vallie.
Titans: Henry Davids, Jacques Rudolph, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Qaasim Adams, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle, JP de Villiers, Tabraiz Shamsi, Junior Dala, Grant Thomson, Heino Kuhn.