The Cobras are feeling the heat after losing three games and winning just one, and there wasn’t any further relief on Wednesday after their clash against the Dolphins at Newlands was rained out, with the teams getting two points each.
They are currently fourth on the log with six points, but are the only side to have already played five matches. “It was frustrating (the no-result against the Dolphins), but we’ll continue with the same mindset as before and keep plugging away,” coach Paul Adams said in a statement yesterday. “We’ll try and make sure the intensity is right up there.”
The Titans are flying high with a four-out-of-four record, but they nearly came up short against the Cobras in Paarl last week. Mark Boucher’s team needed 50 runs to win off the last five overs, and it looked like the home side were in the ascendancy.
But Titans captain Albie Morkel played a typically brutal knock, smashing 34 not out off 16 balls (6x4) in an unbeaten 52-run partnership with Farhaan Behardien to steer his team home.
The Cobras battled with their “death bowling” on that occasion, with West Indian Kieron Pollard conceding 17 runs in the 18th over to end the game as a contest.
However, Wayne Parnell is back from a rib injury, and after easing his way back into things in the last few games, Adams said that he is ready to take on the responsibilities with the ball at the end of the innings on Friday (6pm start).
“The Titans are on a good roll, and for us, it is important that we play well as a team. We have quality players in our squad and they are excited to show that,” the coach told Independent Media on Thursday. “We will always look to pick our best-balanced team. Bowlers are important at Centurion.”
Boucher, though, doesn’t think his team can relax due to their 100 percent record. “I still think that there’s a long way to go in the competition, and we need to continue playing the brand of cricket we are in order to stay where we are,” he said in a statement. “So, we will continue working hard behind the scenes and make sure we keep our feet firmly on the ground, knowing it’s a long tournament ahead still.”
Off-spinner Dane Piedt, who has been loaned to the Titans from the Cobras, will be available for selection, which could add further spice to the encounter.
The Cobras are unlikely to make any changes from the team that was named for the Dolphons game, with Justin Ontong having replaced youngster Jason Smith to bolster the batting line-up in the middle-order.
But Adams will hope that big-hitting Richard Levi can find his touch on what is usually a quick, batsman-friendly track at SuperSport Park to support fellow opener Parnell, who has scored 61 and 22 not out in his two visits to the crease.
Likely Cape Cobras Team
Richard Levi, Wayne Parnell, Keegan Petersen, Justin Ontong, Cebo Tshiki, Kieron Pollard (captain), Aviwe Mgijima, George Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Nkululeko Serame
Original source: Under-pressure Cobras owe Titans one