Warriors assistant coach Mfuneko Ngam says his team are looking to make a positive start to the new year as they host the Titans at Buffalo Park in Round Seven of the 4-Day Franchise Series.
Ngam says that mental preparations have been key for the Warriors after they lost their last game before the holidays. They went down to log leaders the Cape Cobras in Port Elizabeth. His side are now out to avoid a repeat result against the reigning champions.
‘We played good cricket in that last game, so there’ve been many positives to build on,’ said Ngam. ‘We’re happy with where the guys are at the moment and we’re now looking forward to starting the new year well in East London.
‘For us, heading into the game it’s been more about mental preparations and getting the guys ready in terms of their mindset ahead of the game.
‘It’s always tough to prepare for any match around this time of year because of the holidays. In saying that, though, the guys are professional enough to know there is an important game coming up for us.
‘At the end of the day, it’s a job and the guys have to be ready to resume work as usual.’
The result against the Cobras left the Warriors bottom of the table, just under 30 points below the second-placed Highveld Lions and around 60 off the Cobras.
Ngam admits that it will be difficult for anyone to catch the leaders, but says their focus is on their own process, adding that they were not too worried about the Titans at this stage.
‘Anything is possible in this game, so you never know,’ he added. ‘It just takes someone to go on a good run to try and catch them. Hopefully, that team is us. But we’re going to take it one game at a time and see where it takes us.
‘We’re not even too worried about the Titans, we prepare the same for everyone and no matter what team they put out, we’ll be looking to play our best cricket and try to win the game.’
The Titans won their last match of 2018 – a 65-run triumph over the Knights – to secure themselves a first win of the season.
It has left them third on the table and their assistant coach, Mandla Mashimbyi, feels that victory gave them something to build on heading into the New Year.
‘It’s given us a good platform to now go and build on,’ said Mashimbyi. ‘It brought us back a bit on to level terms regarding where everybody else is on the table. That in itself gives us further motivation.’
Mashimbyi also refused to throw in the town in terms of the title.
‘We only give up when the last game has been played,’ concluded Mashimbyi. ‘As long as there’s a chance, then there’s a chance. At this stage there are four games to be played and still some way to go.’
HEAD TO HEAD: Warriors vs Titans
Matches Played 29
Warriors Win 6
Titans Wins 15
Warriors – 548-6 (Centurion 2008-09)
Titans – 586-9 (East London 2005-06)
Warriors – 77 (East London 2008-09)
Titans – 136 (Centurion 2007-08)
Highest individual score
Warriors – 254 AG Prince (Centurion 2008-09)
Titans – 205 not out RE van der Merwe (Benoni 2014-15)
Best bowling in an innings
Warriors – 7-67 Z de Bruyn (Port Elizabeth 2007-08)
Titans – 7-93 Imran Tahir (Centurion 2007-08)
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images