06 Mar Titans, Knights set for big Centurion showdown
CENTURION: Momentum Multiply Titans coach Mandla Mashimbyi believes his team will be ready for their high-profile top-of-the-table 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the VKB Knights in Centurion starting on Sunday.
The competition is returning for the first time since December when it was put on ice due to the Covid-19 second wave.
This time the spotlight is even greater as South Africa’s first-class game returns to television screens after more than a decade. This match at SuperSport Park will be broadcast on SuperSport, with one game in the next round as well as the final also being beamed on the same platform.
It makes for an intriguing climax to the season, with the cross-pool encounter also having plenty riding on it.
The visiting Knights will secure their place in the final as Pool A winners should they win but defeat against Pool B leaders the Titans will leave the race for the final wide open heading into the final round of fixtures.
“We’re not too worried about what the other teams are doing,” Mashimbyi said ahead of the game. “We just have to make sure we stay focused on our objectives and goals.”
“It will be nice if we can finish on top of our pool so that we can qualify for the final. But for that to happen we need to win this first game and that’s what we’re focused on.”
The Titans do come into the game on the back of a disappointing Betway T20 Challenge campaign where their star-studded squad failed to reach the play-offs.
But their coach insists that is now history.
“T20 is gone now,” he said. “When we got knocked out of the competition that was the end of that chapter.
“We’ll reflect on it once the season is concluded, but for now it’s not even part of the conversations.
“All the focus for now is on the Knights on Sunday and how to prep for that. It doesn’t help looking back at what happened in Durban. If you focus on that, that will be a recipe for disaster, so it’s important to channel our energies in the right direction.”
Mashimbyi says preparation for this game has been good. All the Proteas are also available for the next set of games.
He added: “It’s been good thus far since we got back to the red-ball preparations. The guys are all working hard to ensure we are ready come Sunday.
“It will be important to ensure that our processes are all carried out correctly and we hit the ground running once the match gets underway.”
Knights coach Allan Donald also saw his side struggle in Durban where they ended the 20-over competition poorly. Like Mashimbyi, he says that competition is now a thing of the past.
“We had a nice weekend to reflect on what happened in Durban and we dusted ourselves off from that almost immediately,” he said. “We have a good vibe around the group at the moment and we’re now going back to a format where we’ve done well this season. The players are comfortable with it, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Donald was also delighted that the four-day game will be in the limelight during the closing weeks of the season.
He added: “I think just the whole vibe around the return to first-class cricket is great. We’re going to have the game on SuperSport, all the Proteas will be playing so that’s really cool. Everyone is genuinely excited and looking forward to finishing the campaign strongly.”
Remaining 4-Day Domestic Series Fixtures:
Matches in bold will be televised on SuperSport.
07-10 March 2021
Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras vs Warriors at Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town
Imperial Lions vs Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Momentum Multiply Titans vs VKB Knights at SuperSport Park, Centurion
16-19 March 2021
Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras vs VKB Knights at Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town
Warriors vs Hollywoodbets at St George’s Park Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Imperial Lions vs Momentum Multiply Titans at Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
25-29 March 2021