Cobras, Titans fight for title
Vernon Philander (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The curtain comes down on the domestic cricket season this weekend as the SuperSport Series heads for just as exciting a climax as its two domestic brothers, the Standard Bank Pro20 and the MTN40.
There is just a fraction of a decimal point separating the first-placed Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras and the second-placed Nashua Titans going into the final matches. The two leaders are not playing one another so they will have to keep their eye on the ball both on and off the field.
The Cobras take on the Chevrolet Warriors at Boland Park while the Titans also have a home outing against the Chevrolet Knights at Sahara Willowmoore Park.
There is also the possibility - albeit a long shot - of the third-placed bizhub Highveld Lions coming into the picture in their match against the Nashua Dolphins at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
For that to happen the other two games would have to be severely disrupted by rain but that is not a possibility that can be dismissed taking into account the abnormal amount of rain that has fallen during the summer.
Hopefully the destiny of the four-day title will be decided where it belongs - on the field of play.
The Titans will be fielding much the same squad that came unstuck against the Cobras last weekend while the latter will welcome back seamer Rory Kleinveldt after an illness-induced spell on the sidelines.
Whether he gets a game remains to be seen and, if so, at whose expense. The Cobras will be reluctant to drop spin bowler Dane Piedt who returned the best innings figures for the SuperSport Series this season (7/92) in filling a match-winning role against the Titans.
Spinners have nearly always done well at Boland Park where Claude Henderson has been a dominant figure for close on 20 years.
Individually Jacques Rudolph of the Titans and Zander de Bruyn of the Lions will fight it out for the leading runs aggregate for the season and there are four players with 3 centuries each - Rudolph, Neil McKenzie, Ashwell Prince and Justin Ontong.
In spite of missing the last few rounds through Proteas’ call-ups Imran Tahir (42) is likely to finish the leading wicket taker.
Only Ethy Mbhalati can realistically catch but he will have to take 9 wickets to do so.
Vernon Philander (35 wickets at 6.11) is unlikely to be overtaken at the top of the averages.