Highveld Lions assistant Wandile Gwavu admits that the Multiply Titans have hit form at the right time of the season but says the Johannesburg-based side do not fear their Jukskei rivals ahead of the CSA T20 Challenge derby at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.
The two teams are second and third respectively heading into the game – the hosts currently holding the edge by two points.
In what has been a rain-hit start to the campaign, four of the opening 12 games have been no results – one for the Lions and two for the Titans.
It has kept things tight on the log standings, although the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras did pull six points clear of the chasing pack when they beat the bottom-placed VKB Knights on Tuesday.
Now the chasing pack will be hoping to stay in touch and Gwavu is hopeful they can do it against a Titans side he says they respect, but do not fear. “Lions versus Titans is always a powerhouse game,” the Lions No. 2 stated. “We’ve had a look at them and they’re playing some exciting cricket at the moment. They also won the (Momentum) One-Day Cup and have a lot of confidence from that.”
Gwavu admits that the Titans’ batting looks strong, warning that his team will need to improve on their bowling to stand a chance. “Their batting line-up is extremely powerful,” he warned. “We really want to get better with the ball, something that is a work in progress.
“Hopefully we can bring our A-game to the Wanderers.”
The Lions have so far lost to the Cobras, but then beat the Hollywoodbets Dolphins and the Knights, before a washout versus the Warriors in the most recent game.
The Titans lost to the Eastern Cape side in their first game, but won against the Cobras ahead of back-to-back washouts.
“I think if we can do that and maintain the focus on what we need to do, it will help us improve on our own game, which is what we want to do,” Gwavu added. “I think that has shown in the last three games we have played.
“We’re not focussed too much on the Titans. We fully respect them yes, but we do not fear them.”
Titans coach Mark Boucher was just worried whether they could get a game in Johannesburg after all the rain that has currently been following his side.
“It’s an important one, but I just hope we can get a game of cricket,” he said. ‘We’re really being punished by the weather at the moment. I think we’ve played very, very good cricket so far and we haven’t got many points to show for it. Hopefully that will change against the Lions.”
The Lions squad is: still to be announced.
The Titans squad is: Matthew Arnold, Junior Dala, Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Henry Davids, Donovan Ferreira, Eldred Hawken, Rubin Hermann, Gregory Mahlokwana, Tshepo Moreki, Farhaan Behardien (capt), Diego Rosier, Grant Thomson, Shaun von Berg.