Justice was swift and the execution was brutal when the Titans won the Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
And well deserved it was, too, for they have shown themselves to be the best team throughout the tournament.
It would have been bitterly disappointing if they had fallen at the final hurdle; given that the Dolphins had won just three of their league games, gaining 10 points through ‘no result’ matches and were not tested in a semi-final because of rain.
But the Titans did not falter, so we can move on. If they do go on to win the Momentum One-Day Cup, and the Sunfoil Series, which they currently lead, it would cap a remarkable two seasons for coach Mark Boucher.
He took the helm when Rob Walters left rather precipitously in late 2016, but he stamped his authority and his dogged style on the team immediately, building on a solid teamwork ethic.
In his first year, he won the Ram Slam and the One-Day Cup, and missed the Sunfoil Series title by just 1.78 points, the equivalent of three wickets or 36 runs throughout the series.
It seems bizarre that Boucher has been forced to defend himself against claims of ‘fixing’ when he sent a ‘weakened’ team to the last match of the Ram Slam league phase in Durban where they lost by 89 runs, allowing the Dolphins to sneak into the semi-finals.
His team had already secured a home semi-final through their overwhelming wins in their first six completed matches (two were washed out), and he had made no secret of his desire to not only rest some players, but also give younger players an opportunity.
That, to me, is perfectly logical. Would Man City field a full-strength team against Huddersfield on the eve of a Champions League final?
As Boucher pointed out: ‘What people don’t understand is that at the Titans we have a bigger picture‚ which is giving these guys opportunities and making everyone happy. We have ticked all those boxes. A couple of guys got three to four games; there were one or two rained-out games, but you can’t control that.’
With all due respect to the other teams, once the Titans had secured their place, the focus had to switch to those games. After all, there is no prize for topping the log (although there should be).
Boucher has made clear that his first and only focus is winning series for the Titans; and he is doing that in the most efficient way. He should be rightly recognised.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix