The Titans and Dolphins go head to head in a battle to challenge the runaway Highveld Lions in the Sunfoil Series starting Thursday.
This could be make or break for the challengers in Centurion: the Dolphins leapt over the Titans with their three-day win over the Cobras last weekend, but their lead is just 1.89 points and a win for either team in this, the eighth of 10 matches, would put them on the front row of the grid and in a position to test the pole-position Lions’ mettle in the run-in.
By the end of this campaign, the Dolphins will have played six games in six weeks, but they at least have a healthy supply of bowlers. For this match they will be boosted by the return of senior pacemen Robbie Frylinck and Craig Alexander .
The Titans will be boosted by the return of Marchant de Lange.
Knights v Lions, Bloemfontein
Nothing is easy in Bloemfontein and the Knights are involved in a bit of a battle with the Warriors for respect. They trail the Eastern Province franchise by just 0.28 points and would obviously like to get something out of the season and especially avoid the wooden spoon, which at the moment is held by the Cobras.
The Lions are on a roll, having lost just once in this campaign and that was way back last year. Led by the indefatigable Stephen Cook, who has four hundreds in as many matches, they look solid all round, which has enabled them to streak ahead with a 17.24-point lead. They have a full-strngth squad and are refreshed after a week off.
That should spell trouble for the Knights given the form that the Lions seamers have enjoyed – Kagiso Rabada sits second on the list of wicket-takers this season with 28 in five games, while Hardus Viljoen has 24 from four and Chris Morris has 19 from four. The trio have a combined yield of 71 wickets at an average of 18.3.
Cobras v Warriors, Newlands
You would think that home ground would give the Cobras some advantage, but the Cobras have proved they can lose anywhere, anytime. The Warriors lead the Cobras by 7.38 points, so rock-bottom is still too close for comfort.
But at least the Cobras will have their captain Justin Ontong back in the ranks after missing the last match, against the Dolphins, with new-father duties. They are also likely to change their bowling line-up to prevent burn-out.
‘It’s been a bit taxing for us the last few weeks because we have these six games on the trot,’ said Ontong. ‘The bowlers have taken some strain so it’s important how we rotate them and not let them get too fatigued.’
HOW THEY STAND
|Roelof vd Merwe||12||1||657||205*||59.72|
|Pite van Biljon||11||0||559||175||53.23|
|Divan van Wyk||12||0||485||171||40.41|