The Multiply Titans and the Warriors go head to head in an all-important clash this Tuesday at Willowmoore Park.
Willowmoore Park will play host to arguably the most important Momentum One Day Cup match of the season when the Titans take on a resurgent Warriors side.
The winner of Tuesday’s clash will move to the top of the standings, putting them in pole position for a home final. Can the Titans make home ground advantage count or will the giant-killing Warriors dent the Pretoria-franchise’s home final hopes?
Multiply Titans vs Warriors | Tuesday 21 March | Willowmoore Park, Benoni | 10:00
To Win Match
Titans 53/100 | Tie 35/1 | Warriors 31/20
The Titans were full value for their Sunday win over the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in a rain-affected encounter at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. Following early showers which delayed the start of the match, the Titans were put into bat by Khaya Zondo.
The men from the Highveld lost wickets regularly in the early part of the innings before Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel and David Wiese let their experience come to the fore. The Proteas trio steadied the ship with valuable contributions lower down the order, pushing the visitor’s total past the 200 mark.
Shaun von Berg and Junior Dala would both star with the ball as the Dolphins regularly lost wickets in a faltering chase that was further hindered by more rain. Only Sarel Erwee (38) and Khaya Zondo (41) put up any sort of fight as the home side fell 33-runs short of their twice-revised target.
Looking ahead, the Titans are in a good place at the moment and seem to be peaking at just the right time. They still – if required – can call on the likes of AB de Villiers who has ruled himself out of Test cricket for the foreseeable future.
The only real immediate change that I can see happening, however, is Jonathan Vandiar coming back into the side for Tony de Zorzi. The 19-year-old how proven his worth somewhat in first-class cricket but has struggled to make his mark in the shorter formats. An average of 11.37 and a strike rate of 53.84 simply isn’t good enough for a List-A player.
Of course, the above change is dependent on whether or not Henry Davids is fit to play. The 37-year-old appeared to damage his hamstring while batting at Kingsmead. Mark Boucher will be in no hurry to rush the veteran – and this season’s top scorer – back into action with a possible eliminator and final on the horizon.
The Warriors have carried their magnificent T20 form into the 50-over format of the game. Their charge toward the top of the table has been led by the usual suspects. Jon-Jon Smuts, Gilhahn Cloete, Colin Ingram and Colin Ackermann have been imperious with the bat this season, grabbing 1202 runs between them.
Smuts has been particularly good of late. His last two matches (against the Cobras and the Knights) have seen him claim scores of 173* and 132. Those scores were preceded by and 85 against Tuesday’s opposition and proved to be the kick he needed after some indifferent early tournament form.
While their batting has been top-notch during the Momentum One Day Cup, their bowlers have struggled a bit. Andrew Birch hasn’t been as effective as he has in seasons past. His tournament economy rate of 5.91 is poor by his high standards, something he’ll be keen to put right from here on out.
Overall, this Warriors side has the potential to go all the way this year. A win against the Titans will see them move to the top of the table with their last round-robin match to be played against the cellar-dwelling Cobras.
Verdict: Warriors 31/20
These sides are more evenly matched than the betting suggests. While they may be struggling in the bowling department a bit, the Warriors have a top order that can outscore any team in this competition. Back the men from the Eastern Cape to come out on top here at a valuable 31/20.