Titans under pressure

After suffering one of their heaviest defeats, defending champions the Titans will need to show all their resolve when they tackle a resurgent Cape Cobras in the seventh round of the Supersport Series cricket competition in Paarl, starting on Thursday.

As the first-class competition moves into the final straight, the pressure is set to intensify and although the race for the title is wide open, those that falter now will likely fall out of contention.

Shukri Conrad’s Cobras are probably expecting a backlash from the Titans after the champions were humbled by an innings by
arch-rivals the Highveld Lions last weekend.

However, it’s not going to get any easier for Pierre Joubert’s men. The Cobras are on a roll after successive victories, the first of which came on a low-bouncing Paarl pitch which didn’t play that easily.

On that occasion, the Cobras handled things far better than the Warriors, whom they trounced in three days and so they should know what to expect. The Titans will need to have their wits about them to prevent the Cape franchise making it three in a row.

The Dolphins and the Warriors sat out last weekend and will be eager to get back into action when they clash in Durban.

There’ve been setbacks for both sides, but also some good news in players returning from injury.

For the Dolphins, top batsman Hashim Amla has been sidelined after a one-match disciplinary suspension, while Warriors captain Davy Jacobs is still on the injury list.

On the plus side, paceman Garnett Kruger, born and bred in Port Elizabeth before spending several years in Johannesburg, will make his first appearance for the Warriors, while they also have Proteas pair Johan Botha and Lonwabo Tsotsobe back, as well as Justin Kreusch.

For the Dolphins, seamer Yusuf Abdulla returns after injury and will be hoping to make a big impact as the Dolphins seek their second victory after an excellent win over the Lions in their last encounter.

The Diamond Eagles will be looking to bounce back from their poor batting efforts against the Cobras when they travel to Johannesburg for a clash with the Lions.

Neil McKenzie’s home side, however, will be in fine fettle after securing their first win of the season against the Titans.

It will be important they don’t get too carried away with that result, but if their batsmen and bowlers can again combine to work as effective units, Boeta Dippenaar’s men will have to be at their sharpest to return with a decent haul of points.

Significantly, the Lions will be missing fast bowler Friedel de Wet for this game following his call-up to the national squad and the rest of the attack will be tested against a generally strong Diamond Eagles batting line-up.—Sapa

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