T20 power dynamic shifts north

2013-04-07 10:00

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Trans-Jukskei T20 final signals a change of guard.

The balance of domestic T20 power has definitely swung to the north of the country.

Only two seasons ago, coastal teams – the Cape Cobras and the Warriors – swapped places as the local kings of cricket’s shortest format.

Not to say the Titans and the Highveld Lions have stood by, but they have bided their time and again, they will be South Africa’s representatives at the Champions League T20 later this year.

That is just the sideshow as the bigger cake is that of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, which the Titans are one step away from defending.

Again in their path at the Wanderers this afternoon lies the Lions, which have competed in every domestic final without the requisite returns.

Can the Lions be called chokers or a side out for revenge? Not according to captain Alviro Petersen.

Petersen said: “Subconsciously, some of the players felt that they were in the Champions League and that’s where everyone wants to play, and somehow we felt that we had done our job by getting there and not rocking up for the final.

“We need to get rid of being just happy to be in the final. It is time to win trophies now. It is key that we arrive with the mind-set that we want to win.”

The Titans, with an equal win-loss ratio across the season against their Gauteng rivals, will be no pushovers.

Any team that has Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Henry Davids and Farhaan Behardien has to be considered world class.

On talent alone, they could walk into any international team without having to break a sweat.

But Petersen has no fear for the team that gave him his first-class bow.

Petersen said: “The semifinal was a close game, but I think the Warriors chucked it away at the key moments and it could have been a tight one if they had taken their chances.

“The Titans have a powerhouse team and they have their internationals back, which makes them very dangerous.”

What the Lions will bring to the plate is the best bowling attack in the tournament in Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso and Sohail Tanvir.

Together, they have taken 42 wickets, while being frugal at the same time.

But this is something Titans coach Matthew Maynard has studied very well.

After underwhelming four-day and one-day campaigns, a title defence will be hugely motivating for Maynard, who said: “We had a tough four-day competition in which not all things went our way, but the boys are hugely motivated and they have done well to get this far.

“The Lions do have a strong bowling unit and the key to their performances has been the ability to take wickets in the first six overs. When they have done so, they’ve gone on to win, but when they haven’t, they’ve lost most of the time.”

How they reached the final

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