The Titans probably played to 70% of their potential, but ‘character and attitude’ carried them through to the Sunfoil title, says coach Mark Boucher.
That came to the fore particularly when the Titans were given two days to beat the Knights and snatch the title in the final match of the series.
After two days of rain, the two teams agreed to a first innings of 40 overs apiece. Heino Kuhn (86) and Heinrich Klaasen (84*) led the way as the Titans smashed an incredible 269-3, and that was followed by an outstanding bowling performance by Chris Morris (6-55) which left them with just 110 to win. No other team could match that, which gave the Titans the series by just 1.52 points.
‘We had started very well, we led from the front, but then towards the back end we had a lot of disruptions and had to use a big group of players,’ said Boucher on the team’s website. ‘We had hard trials and we were unsettled at times, but the team pulled together, we fought well, we showed character and attitude, and we were able to swing things our way.’
With Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Farhaan Behardien, Tabraiz Shamsi, Morris, Dean Elgar and Klaasen all on national duty at various times — and Junior Dala suffering an untimely injury — the Titans were forced to use 25 players in the competition.
More importantly, there was an all-round team contribution.
‘No individuals stood out and it was definitely a team effort, with everyone chipping in at different times. We had to play through difficult periods at times, either batting for a long time or slowing the game down, and it took a lot of hard work to win this trophy. This was most probably our most satisfying title because we had to toil so hard for it,’ Boucher said.
Ironically, it was the defeat to the Warriors, who ended runners-up, which was the catalyst for a late surge.
‘I thought the loss against the Warriors was the turning point because we had a very good chat after that. At that stage of a long season, people can start to get a bit irritated, so we changed a couple of things and it really helped. We hadn’t played great cricket up until then but we stayed in the competition and we gave ourselves a shot in the last game,’ said Boucher.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix