MODC Final: multiply Titans vs Warriors

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December 2016's CSA T20 Challenge finalists will meet again four months later, with the 2017 Momentum One Day Cup title up for grabs in Centurion this week.

The multiply Titans didn't have to jump through any additional hoops to get to Friday's finale, while the Warriors need to ward off battle wariness, but remain battle hardened, after Monday's taxing Qualifier.

Titans v Warriors | Friday, 31 March 2017 | SuperSport Park, Centurion | 14:00 

To Win Match
Titans 42/100 | Tie 35/1 | Warriors 18/1

multiply Titans
Former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Boucher has enjoyed a successful maiden season as the Titans' head coach - and a second title will go a long way in proving his pedigree beyond his playing days. With plenty of star - and fringe - talent at his disposal, Boucher is primed to have his big match temperament rub off on his charges.

Whether the men in blue will have their Proteas talismen back in the ranks or not remains to be seen, but the semi-injured Quinton de Kock won't likely be risked, nor is space for fast bowler Morne Morkel entirely justified. The veteran Heino Kuhn is more than adequate in the middle order and behind the stumps, while the Lungi Ngidi-Junior Dala combination is not one to break.

The Titans finished at the bottom of last season's Momentum One Day Cup standings and, regardless of Friday's result, their 2017 campaign will boast an inspiring turnaround. Their first choice XI, indeed, has complemented the bench strength - and vice versa. Now is the time to put the proverbial cherry on top.

The single-minded focus captain Albie Morkel consistently references is complemented by a collective hunger - and this esoteric approach has brought plenty of tangible results. While the Warriors aren't quite their bogey team, Boucher, Morkel and company will do well to not underestimate an unassuming opposition unit largely free of bravado.

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Warriors
Man of the match Colin Ingram's post-match interview after victory over the VKB Knights in the Qualifier characterised the Warriors' determination to go all the way this season. Often the bridesmaid, hardly the bride, the coastal outfit seem well positioned to buck seasonal trends this time around.

They, too, sport a young coach in the homegrown Malibongwe Maketa - and would love to honour his contribution with victory that wasn't achieved in late last year's CSA T20 Challenge final. Maketa doesn't boast Boucher-esque playing experience, but is arguably the better mentor and tactician.

The Warriors met the Titans a bit more than a week ago, in what proved to be a warm-up for Friday's final, and two weeks before that, when both teams were still finding their feet through the group stage of the competition. The Eastern Cape team lost both games, having batted first in Benoni and second in East London.

Seamers Anrich Nortje and Basheeru-Deen Walters didn't play in either of those games, but were in the XI that triumphed over the Knights earlier this week. Both are backed to retain their berths - and therefore possess unknown qualities, of sorts, for the opposition batsmen, provided they bowl the same challenging lines and lengths extracted against the Knights.



Verdict: Titans 8/10
Most people enjoy a good underdog story and, while many would love to see the Warriors undo the Titans away from home, it's not likely. The hosts just have too much going for them to be found wanting.

Value bet: Highest opening partnership: Titans 1/1
While Jon-Jon Smuts and Gihan Cloete have been solid in tandem for the Warriors, the impetus provided by Proteas prospect  Aiden Markram - and opening partner - should continue to set the Titans apart from the rest.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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