It was billed the title decider even before the second round of matches started and so the result of the Sunfoil Series clash between Titans and Highveld Lions will have plenty riding on it when it gets underway in Centurion on Thursday. The hosts are top of the competition standings with 112.32 points with the Knights (100.68) second, followed by the visitors (94.74). Victory for the Titans at SuperSport Park could hand them the title this weekend, should the Knights slip up against the Warriors in Kimberley.
A win either way will put them on the brink of a first four-day title since 2011/12. The Lions need more than a win this week as they try to defend the title. They will also need the Knights to drop points in both rounds.
Whatever happens, the first-class season is set for a captivating climax. Titans coach Rob Walter says: ‘The way it stands, the Knights could easily win their match against the Warriors and next week we’ll find ourselves in the very same position. So there’s plenty to play for beyond this game. Our focus is and has always been on one game at a time rather than winning both. But if we do win both games, we know we’ll win the trophy. There’s no two ways about that, but for now we’re focussing all our energy on the Lions.’ Walter is expecting a tough assignment in the Jukskei derby.
He adds: ‘They’re a strong side, they’re the defending champions and they a side that can beat anyone in the competition. From a points perspective, they’re probably a game behind, so I expect them to come out at us. It’s going to be a good game.’ Despite being only third favourites at this stage of the campaign, Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana is not ready to thrown in the towel. Toyana says: ‘It is a big one for us. I still feel with the way the remaining fixtures are, we still have destiny in our own hands. It is a big game, it is a derby and there’s a lot riding on it. I think with the Knights right behind the Titans, it has all the attributes to be a really intriguing clash. The equation is quite simple for us, we have to win both.’ Bowling duo Eddie Leie and Sean Jamison have been drafted into the Lions squad, while the Titans have stuck with the same squad that won their last game against the Warriors.