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Ken Borland

Titans have beady eye on finishing second 0

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Ken


With the Highveld Lions having already clinched the Sunfoil Series title, the focus has now shifted to who will finish second in the four-day competition and the Titans have their beady eye on overtaking the Dolphins in the last round of matches starting today.

The Dolphins lost to the Lions last weekend in the title decider, but the Titans, having drawn against the Cape Cobras, find themselves 12.16 points behind the KwaZulu-Natalians as they host the Knights at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Experienced all-rounder Albie Morkel has been included in the Titans squad, while batsman Dean Elgar, fresh off a double-hundred, has been rested due to concussion.

The Knights will be boosted by the return of pacemen Quinton Friend and Malusi Siboto and, if they beat the Titans, they could overtake them and claim third place on the log.

The Highveld Lions will want to complete their superb campaign by beating the Warriors at the Wanderers and are likely to name their strongest XI even though nobody can catch them at the top of the standings.

Dominic Hendricks will replace wicketkeeper/batsman Thami Tsolekile, who is being troubled by a finger injury, while the batting will be further strengthened by the return of Alviro Petersen.

The Cobras travel to Pietermaritzburg to take on the Dolphins and the defending champions are motivated by the desire not to finish last in this season’s competition. They will be given a fresh look by the introduction of batsman and part-time off-spinner Matthew Kleinveldt, who replaces his rested cousin Rory, and wrist-spinner George Linde, who fills in for Robin Peterson.


Only weather stops stellar Lions from taking huge lead 0

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Ken


The bizhub Highveld Lions put in a stellar performance over the weekend in the Sunfoil Series and it was only the intervention of bad weather that prevented them from taking a near-unassailable lead at the top of the four-day competition’s log.

The wonderful efforts of their four-prong pace attack and centuries by the prolific Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma gave the Lions firm control of their match against the Chevrolet Warriors in East London and, with Hardus Viljoen taking five wickets and Chris Morris three in the second innings, they were left with a victory target of just 98.

Unfortunately for the Lions, only 21 overs were able to be bowled before bad light stopped play with them on 81 for four.

“It was disappointing, I really thought we were going to get the win,” coach Geoff Toyana told The Citizen on Monday. “It was getting dark when we bowled the Warriors out, so we knew we wouldn’t get 33 overs in. The batsmen tried their best but Andrew Birch (9-3-13-4) bowled very well and made it tough for us.

“The Warriors were taking seven or eight minutes an over, but we still thought we’d get a couple more in.”

The Lions were also hindered by the Warriors tail, with the last three batsmen – Birch, Sisanda Magala and Basheer Walters  – adding 67 runs in 15 overs, but overall Toyana was happy as his team still sits 19.22 points ahead of the Titans on the log.

“The Dolphins were also very unfortunate to have to settle for a draw and these things happen, they’re not in your control. But I’m very happy that Hardus, Chris and Kagiso Rabada are all performing well together and Stephen Cook has now scored four hundreds in a row to put us where we are. He’s a quality opener, he’s batted there all his life, he knows his game and he’s been averaging over 40 for 10 seasons.

“The national selectors want to convert middle-order batsmen into openers, but I’m surprised Stephen hasn’t had a look in, he should be in the mix,” Toyana said.

The Unlimited Titans were also frustrated by the Nashua Cape Cobras’ tail in Paarl, the home side recovering from 198 for eight to 308 in their first innings and then bowling the visitors out for 175, thanks to Mthokozisi Shezi’s brilliant six for 51.

The Titans, set 475 to win after a quickfire Dane Vilas century, were eventually beaten by 170 runs, but the fact that the Lions were held to a draw meant they only lost a little ground on the log.

“We should have closed down their first innings quicker and you can’t really win after being 133 behind on first innings, unless something dramatic happens. But we got a bit lucky with the other two draws , which are pretty much worth the same as a loss.

“We’ve slipped back a bit, but not drastically, and if we can win two out of our last three games, and the Lions draw a couple, then we can win the title,” coach Rob Walter said.

Those who attended the final day of the match between the Sunfoil Dolphins and the Chevrolet Knights at Kingsmead enjoyed a nailbiting finish as the visitors’ last pair of Malusi Siboto and Quinton Friend survived for 53 minutes before bad light stopped play.

Paceman Mathew Pillans, with match figures of 10 for 129, and the Van Wyk brothers – Divan scored 171 and Morne 103 not out – were the stars of the show for the Dolphins.


Titans lose by an innings but still top of log 0

Posted on March 05, 2015 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans were hammered by an innings by the Dolphins in the latest round of Sunfoil Series matches, but the log at the bottom of this article is not incorrect, the northern/eastern Gauteng side are indeed top of the standings as the four-day competition enters the new year.

While the Titans succumbed by an innings and 54 runs to the Dolphins at Kingsmead, coach Rob Walter believes he has the material to mount a serious title challenge in the premier domestic competition.

“It was disappointing the way we played in Durban, but specifically the way we played the week before when we thrashed the Knights in Bloemfontein has put us in a good position with two wins in four games. This competition is more about the games you win than the games you lose and the bowlers were outstanding in Bloemfontein, while Farhaan Behardien has certainly been one of the standout batsmen in the competition,” Walter told The Citizen.

The inconsistency of the Titans is what is threatening their title ambitions, however, with the bowlers performing poorly in Durban as they bowled the wrong lengths, and the batting also looking vulnerable at times.

The Titans’ next match, against the Highveld Lions, who are second, just 1.72 points behind them with a game in hand, is shaping up as a crucial encounter. That game only starts on January 15 though, with the Titans having a break as the Lions take on the Cape Cobras and the Warriors host the Dolphins from January 8.

Walter warned that the Dolphins, who have 27.08 points from two matches compared to the Titans’ 46.18 from four, will also be a big factor in the competition.

“That attack of theirs is very good, Kyle Abbott and Ryan McLaren are two international bowlers and their quality shone through against us. Their greater ability to execute their skills, in terms of landing the ball in the right area over and over again, makes them very good bowlers,” Walter said.

The Titans bowlers were nowhere near as accurate, although speedster Marchant de Lange and left-arm swing bowler Rowan Richards are both enjoying good campaigns.

De Lange has taken nine wickets in his last two innings and Walter says he is a much-improved bowler.

“Marchant’s done a helluva lot of work. He’s had patches of success before, but I’ve seen steady growth this season in him as a strike bowler. His pace is a trumpcard and as he goes up through the levels, he’ll have to become more consistent and better at executing his plans because top batsmen on good pitches deal with pace. But his skills have improved,” Walter said.




  P W L Tied Drawn Bat Bowl Penalty
The Unlimited Titans 4 2 2 0 0 14.18 12 0 46.18
bizhub Highveld Lions 3 2 1 0 0 12.46 12 0 44.46
Chevrolet Knights 4 2 1 0 1 9.52 13 0 42.52
Sunfoil Dolphins 2 1 0 0 1 11.08 6 0 27.08
Chevrolet Warriors 3 0 2 0 1 7.74 10 0 17.74
Nashua Cape Cobras 2 0 1 0 1 7.66 3 1 9.66


Titans have fresh mindset for title defence 0

Posted on September 20, 2012 by Ken

The final SuperSport Series trophy has been inscribed with “2011/12 champions Nashua Titans” but coach Matthew Maynard has imprinted a fresh mindset on his team for the new four-day competition, the Sunfoil Series.

“We’re trying to win the title, not defend it. It’s a slightly different mindset, but it means we just want to win every game. It’s obviously a massive competition for us and we know the opposition will have a slightly different take on us,” Maynard said at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.

The Titans will also be led by a new captain this year in Henry Davids, and Maynard said the appointment was made bearing in mind the disruption to the team caused by call-ups to their numerous national players.

“At this stage of Henry’s career, it’s definitely the right move. While Martin van Jaarsveld is very vocal and leads from the front, Henry is more likely to just go round and have a quiet word with the boys. He’s the guy I see taking the team forward.

“While someone like Faf du Plessis may be viewed as a more natural leader, his international commitments mean there would be too much disruption to the team and I’m big on not having disruptions to the team.”

Davids himself said he was excited by the challenge and, having averaged 35.65 in four-day cricket for the Titans, with just two centuries in 33 innings since joining the franchise in 2010/11, he is hoping the captaincy will also inspire him to greater deeds with the bat.

“It’s just an extra responsibility and I’m sure it will bring out the best in me. I enjoy challenges and I’ve been inspired by them in the past.

“My personality is to stay very calm and hopefully that will rub off on the team. They are very calm usually and I can be stern where needed too,” Davids said.

The Titans will go into their opening Sunfoil Series match, against the Knights in Kimberley from Thursday, already weakened by international call-ups for Du Plessis and Farhaan Behardien.

“It’s obviously tough losing Farhaan and Faf, and then Jacques Rudolph will be going on tour to Australia, but we’ll manage as we did last year and cover it. The players that came in last season all put their hands up, it wasn’t just two or three players that won us the SuperSport Series,” Maynard said.

The Titans are likely to go into the game against the Knights with two left-arm spinners in Paul Harris and Roelof van der Merwe, with Davids providing the off-break variety, while the pace bowling stocks are healthy with Ethy Mbhalati, CJ de Villiers, left-armer Rowan Richards and David Wiese, the other genuine all-rounder in the team.

The batting will be heavily dependent on Rudolph, Heino Kuhn and Davids, with two players in the top-order who are still learning their trade at this level in Tumelo Bodibe and Pieter Malan.

Davids sees the Knights as “tricky” opposition and one of the main challengers to their four-day title.

“The Knights are very tricky and they’ve been up there challenging since the start of the franchise competition. We’re expecting a great challenge and, even though there is no weak franchise in South Africa at the moment, we’re expecting the Knights and Cobras to give us the most problems,” Davids said.

LIKELY TITANS TEAM – Jacques Rudolph, Tumelo Bodibe, Pieter Malan, Henry Davids, Heino Kuhn, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers, Paul Harris, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards. 12th man: Shaun von Berg.

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