Cape Town - With four straight wins under their belt The Titans may be the form team in the Ram Slam T20, but they know that they face their toughest challenges in the competition this week, starting with Wednesday’s visit to the Dolphins.
After losing to the Dolphins in their opening game, the Titans have gone on an impressive winning streak to sit level with their opponent at the top of the standings.
But this week sees them visit the Dolphins and then travel to Cape Town to take on the third-placed Cape Cobras on Friday, making it a crucial few days in the race for top spot and an automatic place in the final.
The Titans have retained the same squad that conquered the Warriors over the weekend, with coach, Rob Walter, enjoying the depth that he has found in his ranks.
“We’ve changed our team pretty much every game for varying reasons - from family loss to injury to game plans - so what’s nice is that the guys who have come in and got an opportunity to play have stood up and done something for us,” said Walter.
“So we’re happy with everyone’s form, and we want to be able to field a team that is specific to our opposition or the conditions, and know that whoever we bring in is in form and is ready to play. We obviously have good momentum, but I see Wednesday and Friday as being our biggest challenges.”
After winning their first four games, the Dolphins were finally felled on Sunday when Wayne Parnell engineered a five-wicket win for the Cobras.
“It’s just the nature of the game,” reflected Morne van Wyk. “It’s such a short format that you have to be on the ball all of the time, and it’s hard to claw yourself back if you aren’t.”
The Dolphins do, however, need to figure out their best combinations now that Kevin Pietersen has departed, Prenelan Subrayen has been banned from bowling and Kyle Abbott has flown to India to play for the Proteas.
After scoring 77 off just 46 balls for KZN Inland in the CSA Provincial T20 Challenge this weekend, Vaughn van Jaarsveld has returned to the Dolphins squad along with Sibonelo Makhanya.
While SuperSport Park’s quicker surface did not require a spinning ally for Keshav Maharaj on Sunday, replacing Subrayen, who took 4 for 22 the last time these teams met, may be a priority for Sahara Stadium Kingsmead’s conditions on Wednesday.
“It will be tough to replace him because he’s a star performer who’s done really well for us, but you need your squad to perform in a competition and it’s an opportunity for someone else to contribute and showcase their skills,” said Van Wyk.