• Titans, Cobras to scrap for semi-final berth

    Titans coach Mandla Mashimbyi says the champions have no choice but to win their next two games if they want to progress to the One-Day Cup semi-finals.

    The Centurion-based team welcome the Cape Cobras to Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Wednesday, before hosting the Knights at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

    Twin wins will have them progress after an iffy season in which they have managed just three wins to sit fifth in the standings, just outside the qualifying places.

    One of those victories, however, did come in their derby this past weekend when they beat their rivals, the Lions, and Mashimbyi hopes this can spur them on for the closing weeks of the campaign.

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    ‘It was a good win and a good way to motivate the guys to hopefully now kick on and go and win the next two,’ he stated. ‘Because that is what we need to do if we want to get into the semi-finals.

    ‘Once you get into those semi-finals, who knows what will happen. We just need to make sure we do the business now and that’s all we have to do.

    ‘I think now we’ve reached a situation where whoever gets on a roll will win the competition. We’ll be trying to make sure that team is us.’

    It has been a very up-and-down 50-over season for the Titans, but Mashimbyi remains hopeful, adding: ‘It has been frustrating. I think we did get some momentum going but then we had to stop for two weeks and lost some of that momentum.

    ‘I’m not one to make excuses, but that has affected us hence we are sitting in this position.’

    If Mashimbyi thought he had problems, his opposite number, Ashwell Prince, has bigger ones.

    They are last on the table with eight points from eight games.

    Cobras captain Zubayr Humza says their camp is hugely disappointed by the way they performed, especially in their last few games when they have not even been competitive.

    They were crushed by the Knights in back-to-back games, with their only two wins coming way back in the first few games at the start of February.

    ‘We’re very disappointed with the last performance against the Knights,’ Hamza said. ‘We haven’t been coming to the party with both bat and ball on many occasions this tournament.

    ‘I feel like that’s been the main reason why we lost the close games. Especially in games where it was kind of a must win situations, we haven’t done the business.’

    Although the Cobras can still qualify for the semis – they need to beat the Titans and also the Warriors in the last game on Saturday – Hamza believes there are more deserving teams than them.

    He added: ‘We see this as an opportunity to kind of start on a clean slate, especially going into the next two games. We got a game in Benoni and then fly straight to East London after that.

    ‘It’s against two tough sides that are still in the running for this competition and for us it’s predominantly our main focus. We want to be playing good cricket, positive cricket and winning cricket.

    ‘We’re trying to take the positives out of a dim situation where we would obviously still like to be involved in the comp.

    ‘I know mathematically there is still a slight chance of that happening, but in all fairness and honesty, we haven’t been playing good enough cricket to be still competing in this competition or to even qualify for the semis.’

    Photo: Gallo Images

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