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Ken Borland


Both Titans & Lions looking to field players returning from NZ for key match

Posted on April 04, 2022 by Ken

The Northerns Titans and the Central Gauteng Lions clash at SuperSport Park from Friday in what could be the decisive fixture in deciding this season’s winners of the 4-Day Domestic Series, with both teams looking to field players who have just returned from the Proteas tour of New Zealand.

The Lions, runaway leaders of the four-day competition for most of the season, go into the final round under severe pressure from not just the Titans but also the Eastern Province Warriors.

There is just a 0.48-point gap between the Lions at the top of the log and the Warriors, who travel to Bloemfontein to play the Free State Knights. Northerns are in third place just 6.30 points behind the Lions, so if they beat their Gauteng neighbours and the Warriors are held to a draw by the Knights, then the Titans could claim the four-day crown.

Pivotal to Northerns’ hopes is whether ace off-spinner Simon Harmer, who was in the Proteas squad in New Zealand but did not play, is able to get on the field on Friday. The competition’s leading wicket-taker, with 35 in six matches, is apparently keen to play despite only landing back in South Africa on Thursday afternoon.

With pacemen Dayaan Galiem, Junior Dala and Okuhle Cele all out injured, Harmer would provide some much-needed bite to the attack. In fact, with Tabraiz Shamsi technically available and always keen to show he is not just a white-ball bowler, could the Titans try and surprise the Lions with a spinners’ pitch?

The Lions have lost the most players to the Proteas and have been trying to get permission from CSA to field the likes of Ryan Rickelton and Duanne Olivier, their most successful batsman and bowler respectively. Without them, they have slim pickings to choose from.

Rumours that the Warriors have signed leg-spinner Imran Tahir for the last round of matches are apparently incorrect, but EP coach Robin Peterson will be keeping an anxious eye on the weather. Sources in Bloemfontein say the outlook is for lots of rain, but Peterson said “your guess is as good as mine” when asked about it.

Scenarios

(courtesy official CSA statistician Andrew Samson)

If Lions beat Titans and Warriors don’t win, Lions will finish 1st.

If Titans beat Lions and Warriors don’t win, Titans will finish 1st.

If Lions beat Titans and Warriors win, the team between them with most bonus points will finish 1st.

If Titans beat Lions and Warriors win, the team between them with most bonus points will finish 1st.

If the Lions v Titans match is drawn and Warriors win then Warriors will finish 1st.

Bonus points needed

Assuming that all teams have the same bowling bonus points and results are as above, then in the first 100

overs of their first innings:

Warriors will need to make 25 more runs than Lions to finish above them.

Titans will need to make 292 more runs than Warriors to finish above them.

Titans will need to make 316 more runs than Lions to finish above them.

For every 1 point difference in bowling points between any of these side the run requirements will be adjusted by 50, e.g.

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