Dean Elgar is preparing to put his battered body on the line for the Titans in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final against the Warriors on Tuesday.
Three days after carrying his bat through a fearful battering from the Indian pace bowlers in the third Test, scoring 86 in almost six hours of ducking and diving, Elgar will shift his focus to a shorter, sharper format.
Titans coach Mark Boucher, who has already secured the Ram Slam T20 title, is looking to put out his strongest team at Centurion, even if it means dropping players who helped to carry the team to the top of the log with seven wins out of 10 matches.
‘A lot of people look at Dean and think he’s just a Test player, but I think if they look at his one-day stats, they’re very, very impressive,’ Boucher said.
‘We have some tough selection decisions to make but the guys do understand now that it’s the knockout stage.’
For the record, Elgar has 4,742 runs from 133 innings at List A level, at an average of just over 42 and a strike rate of a touch under 80.
The Warriors squeezed into fourth place on the log with five wins, but Boucher is wary of their ‘mongrel’ attitude.
‘They are a scrapping team and they continuously get to semi-finals and finals,’ he said.
‘We have to show them the respect they deserve for that and the way they play cricket as well.
‘It all boils down to taking it one game at a time now,’ he added. ‘We’re focused on what we need to do.’
Warriors coach Rivash Gobind does not have too many new selection problems, with his squad mainly the same one he has worked with for the bulk of the season.
‘We’re going to try and play our best game of cricket,’ he said. ‘We have our plans in place and we’re pretty confident that we’ll be in a good position if we can execute that, come the end of 100 overs.’
He acknowledges that it was a tough task.
‘The Titans are an example for every franchise in the country and it’s great as South Africans that we have one of the strongest domestic teams in the world, basically. You want to play against the best and that’s what the Titans are.’
The Cobras will host the Dolphins in the second semi-final, on Wednesday.
Titans squad: Albie Morkel (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Alfred Mothoa, Malusi Siboto, Shaun von Berg, David Wiese.
Warriors squad: Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Gihahn Cloete, Edward Moore, Clyde Fortuin, Lesiba Ngoepe, Christiaan Jonker, Colin Ackermann, Sisanda Magala, Andrew Birch, Lutho Sipamla, Ayabulela Gqamane, Anrich Nortje, Yaseen Vallie.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix