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Ken Borland

No walk in the park for Northerns Titans – Mashimbyi

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Ken

The Titans may be on a six-game winning streak while the KZN Dolphins just scraped into the last four by winning their last game, but Northerns coach Mandla Mashimbyi knows Friday’s CSA T20 Challenge semi-final is going to be no walk in the park for his high-flying team.

The Dolphins are still waiting on the fitness of ace batsman David Miller, who has a hamstring strain, but they have other potent potential matchwinners in paceman Eathan Bosch, spinner Prenelan Subrayen, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo and batting kingpin Khaya Zondo.

“Winning six-out-of-seven games is no small feat and we need to enjoy that,” Mashimbyi told The Citizen on Thursday, “but the Dolphins are a formidable team in their own right.

“They have been the best white-ball team in the country for the last three years and we know that they are going to bring everything. The fact they are in the semis means they are doing something right as well.

“It’s going to be all about what you bring on the day and we will never take them lightly. We have to make sure we bring the intensity,” Mashimbyi said.

Working in the Titans’ favour, however, is that they seem to be on a similarly high-flying trajectory to when they won the T20 competition three times in a row between 2015/16 and 2017/18. They are playing with the confidence of a team that knows and executes its plan, and how to adapt when necessary.

“We must have done something right to get here, so the guys can take confidence out of that instead of feeling pressure in a knockout game. It’s a good opportunity to go out and have some fun,” Mashimbyi said.

“The guys should feel good about themselves and what is pleasing is the work they have put into what was initially a bumpy process. Different guys are putting their hands up.

“And I look forward to seeing who will be the game-changer in the semi-final, if one of our players can get the man of the match award then we will probably win.

“We are a team of 15 and we are in a good space with everyone playing a role. So it could be anyone who plays a matchwinning hand, we believe they are all capable and we have a lot still in the tank,” Mashimbyi said.

Most notably, Proteas stars Quinton de Kock and Tabraiz Shamsi have had good tournaments without ever really taking flight. They are both clearly in good form again and the big stage of a knockout match could well see them at their best.

Western Province take on neighbours Boland in Friday’s other semi-final.

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