Both the Unlimited Titans and the Dolphins will be looking to eat up the points differential between themselves and the log-leading bizhub Highveld Lions, but the losers of their Sunfoil Series match starting at SuperSport Park in Centurion today will almost certainly be out of the running for the title.
The Lions, who play the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein, lead the competition with 96.78 points, with the Dolphins second on 79.54 and the Titans close behind on 77.56 with three rounds remaining.
Titans coach Rob Walter wants his team to gobble up all their chances, something they didn’t do in their previous match, a crucial 170-run defeat at the hands of the Nashua Cape Cobras in Paarl.
“We had them in the first innings but then we weren’t clinical enough at the end to close out the innings. We also batted very well at the start before falling apart, so we need to be mentally stronger and make sure the opposition has to work hard for anything they get,” Walter, who has Marchant de Lange fit again, told The Citizen yesterday.
The Dolphins have pacemen Robbie Frylinck and Craig Alexander fit again, but coach Lance Klusener said they would probably not be assimilated into the team just yet, because he’s looking for more consistency from a side that knocked over the defending champion Cobras by eight wickets at Newlands last weekend.
“We need more consistency, we’ve had some good individual days, but if you can put two good days in a row then you generally win. But we’ve managed to fight our way through to here and we still have a shout,” Klusener said.
The Lions suffered their only defeat in this season’s competition when the Knights beat them by 143 runs in Potchefstroom in October, after leading by 101 runs on first innings but then collapsing to 137 all out to the spin of Werner Coetsee.
“We’ve played some decent cricket, but we have to keep winning, every game is a big game,” Lions coach Geoff Toyana said.
Alviro Petersen is taking a short break to attend a family wedding, Dominic Hendricks returning to take his place, while all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius is back from injury.
The Knights have briefly hit the right notes in the Sunfoil Series, winning their first two games in convincing fashion but failing to add to that.
“There are a couple of critical things we need to get right again. We need to score big runs when the opportunity presents itself: We’ve had 22 scores of more than 30 in the last three games but no centuries. And we need to take our opportunities in the field because we’ve bowled with control,” coach Sarel Cilliers said.
The match between the Cobras and the Chevrolet Warriors at Newlands is all about restoring pride for the home side, who are bottom of the log.