Champions League T20
Titans 'staying' grounded
Martin van Jaarsveld (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Titans' captain Martin van Jaarsveld insisted they will not get too far ahead of themselves after edging closer towards a Champions League T20 semi-final spot with a crushing 59-run victory over Auckland Aces in Durban on Wednesday.
The Pretoria franchise moved top of Group A with the win at Kingsmead, moving them to within a place in the last four on a maximum of eight points after two games.
“We can only look at the next challenge,” Van Jaarsveld said after the win, already turning his focus to their match on Sunday against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
“We got KKR in Cape Town and every time we go out there, we just look to play a positive brand of cricket.
“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, we just want to take it one ball at a time.”
KKR were eliminated from the competition when their game against Perth Scorchers was rained out.
Earlier, though, it was Proteas' opener Jacques Rudolph who starred with the bat, making 63 off 56 balls, while there were also useful contributions from Henry Davids (36 off 23) and Farhaan Behardien (48 off 23) as the Titans amassed 172/4.
In reply, seam bowlers Alfonso Thomas (three for 18) and Ethy Mbhalati (three for 26) sent Auckland crashing to 113 all out in 18.1 overs.
“It was a fantastic win,” Van Jaarsveld said.
“We wanted a solid start with the bat and hats off to Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids again.
“I thought they laid the platform nicely for us to try and get a big score."
The veteran skipper praised Rudolph, who is now the competition’s top batsman with 146 runs.
“Jacques is doing fantastic for us. He got a big 83 not out in the first game and for us that first six overs are so important, especially when you want to put a big total on the board.
“Both his partnerships with Davids were really good for us.”
There was one injury concern for Van Jaarsveld after Mbhalati appeared to pick up a hamstring injury when sliding in the field and had to be helped off by the medical team.
“We’re going to have to monitor him,” he said.
“He’ll have a scan on Friday. Hopefully it’s not too serious because he’s been fantastic with the ball so far.
“All our seamers, Ethy, CJ (de Villiers), Thomo, they just run up and hit back of a length hard and when you get early poles in those first six, the opposition is always on the back foot.
“And that brings our spinners into the game.”