There will be practically two different Titans teams in action this weekend as the defending champions look to get their Momentum One-Day Cup campaign back on track with matches against the Knights in Benoni on Friday and versus the Warriors in East London on Sunday.
While the Titans are currently in fourth place on the log, there are only five points – the equivalent of a bonus point win – between them and the competition-leading Cape Cobras. The Warriors are second with the same number of points as the Cobras, while the Highveld Lions are third, two points ahead of the Titans. The Dolphins are, like the Titans, on nine points and the bottom-placed Knights are on eight, so there is a real logjam in the 50-over standings.
While current Proteas Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Farhaan Behardien and Chris Morris will all be playing in Benoni, getting some valuable white-ball cricket in before the series against England starts on Wednesday, SA A players Dean Elgar, Qaasim Adams, Theunis de Bruyn, David Wiese and Marchant de Lange (called up on Friday) won’t be there for the Titans at all this weekend as they are playing a day/night match against the tourists in Kimberley on Saturday.
Coach Rob Walter said on Thursday that the Titans were inconsistent in the first five games of the competition, which won’t be helped by the raft of changes he will have to make between their sixth and eighth games, by when the SA A quintet should be back.
“It’s not going to be easy, we’re losing a lot of players so it will test our squad strength, but it provides opportunities for some quality cricketers. We’re under a bit of pressure to get the job done this weekend, we need points if we’re going to push for a home final.
“Of course we’ve been down this road before and we just have to make sure we get on a roll. We’ve been a bit inconsistent with both bat and ball and have struggled to put both facets together in the same game. But we have a strong side to play the Knights, who are always tough and offer very strong resistance,” Walter said.
The likes of Grant Thomson, Graeme van Buuren, Heinrich Klaasen and Rowan Richards, who were all successful in the first half of the competition, should be in contention to fill in on Sunday in East London.
Titans squad v Knights – Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Heino Kuhn, Faf du Plessis, Farhaan Behardien, Grant Mokoena, Mangaliso Mosehle, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi, Junior Dala, Grant Thomson, Ethy Mbhalati.