Kyle Abbott and Imran Tahir will add further strength to a Dolphins side that are back in form when they take on the Titans in Saturday’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge Final at SuperSport Park. Abbott and Tahir have been made available following the conclusion of the Proteas’ tour of India, and will add an extra layer of stardust to an enticing final, in which both franchises will be eager to turn their increasing promise into further silverware. While the Titans have lifted the Momentum One-Day Cup in the past two seasons under Rob Walter, Lance Klusener led the Dolphins to the T20 title two seasons ago.
Both coaches can claim to have improved their sides during their tenures, but they also know that winning trophies is the only way they can prove it. Klusener says: ‘It’s always nice to play in these games but nobody really remembers who comes second. We won it the year before last so we know how to win it. It’s always tough to go there but we are confident – we’re coming off two good games and they haven’t played for a while, so that’s good for us. But they’re a good team, and it’s anyone’s final.’ With Sibonelo Makhanya also included, Vaughn Van Jaarsveld and Kyle Nipper have been released from the Dolphins squad that held out for a dramatic win over the Cape Cobras in Wednesday’s play-off.
That victory will undoubtedly give the Dolphins belief, although the Titans go into the final as clear favourites despite losing their final game of the league phase to the side that finished bottom of the table. Not only did they finish 13 points clear at the top of the table, but that included a run of eight wins on the trot – including three with a bonus point – in which they showed just how devastating they can be. However, they are determined not to feel any extra pressure as a result.
Titans coach Rob Walter says: ‘I think the pressure in the final is the same pressure for everyone – you’ve got one chance to win it. The eight games that we’ve won have just got us there, now it’s about getting over the line. Any trophy in the cabinet is obviously great for the franchise, and the two that we’ve got in my time here have been in the 50-over tournament, so it would be great to win a T20 competition. I’m just proud of the way the guys have played to get here.’ The Final starts at 18:00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 2.
In the event of a washout, Sunday has been set aside as a reserve day, although the game would revert to a 14:30 start.
Titans squad: Albie Morkel (Capt), Qaasim Adams, Farhaan Behardien, Ruben Claassen, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Quinton De Kock, Heino Kuhn, Sammy Mofokeng, Chris Morris, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Graeme Van Buuren, David Wiese.
Photo by Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images