The Titans welcome back an overload of national squad members as they take on the Lions in the Jukskei derby at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
Titans coach, Mark Boucher, is hoping to follow the template of last season by carrying the momentum of their Sunfoil Series campaign for the launch of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge against the Highveld Lions in Centurion on Sunday.
The Pretoria-based side won the title in 2016-17, and it came on the back of a strong end to the first part of the four-day season when they won two out of their last three games.
This year they broke the overall Sunfoil Series draw sequence by winning the only match to date in their final game to lead the standings in the process, and Boucher wants to capitalise on that win.
‘We took some of the momentum from our Sunfoil Series into the T20 competition last year and went on to win it,’ said Boucher. ‘We can always look back at that and take a lot of positives out of it. Hopefully, things will follow a similar path this time.’
The Jukskei derby at SuperSport Park is the second of a double header, which will be preceded by the Cape Cobras versus the Dolphins. The drawcard will be the involvement of the Proteas players, who are available for the entire tournament.
‘It’s great that they are playing, and it will really enhance the competition,’ Boucher, whose side also won the 2015-16 title, said. ‘But T20 is always going to be tight because of the fact that one or two players can win you games.
‘So we just have to cover all the bases and hopefully, a couple of games go our way early on. That will help us to try and get into a position to challenge for the finals. If we can do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to continue winning trophies.’
Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is expecting a tough first match for his side, who were on the receiving end of that rare Titans win in the opening half of the Sunfoil Series.
‘It’s been a fairly good season so far, despite that loss,” he said. “We now play the Titans again first up in the T20 competition. It’s a derby, at their home ground with all those big players in the mix, so it will be a tough one.’
The Lions squad: Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hendricks, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dwaine Pretorius, Nicholas van der Berg, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Marques Ackerman, Omphile Ramela, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Aaron Phangiso (capt), Hardus Viljoen, Ryan Rickleton, Wihan Lubbe, Carmi le Roux, Janneman Malan.
Titans squad: Albie Morkel (Capt), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Eldred Hawken, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, David Wiese.