Toyana: Titans are not invincible

Geoffrey Toyana (Gallo)
Geoffrey Toyana (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana has no doubt that the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge pace-setting Titans can be beaten when the two lock horns in their Jukskei derby clash at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday. 

The defending champions have looked invincible during the opening five games of the competition, winning four of them, with only rain denting their 100 percent record through a wash-out against the Dolphins in Benoni last Friday. 

Despite the dominance, though, Toyana feels they have the capacity to beat their Gauteng rivals. 

“Yes they can (be beaten),” he said.

“I really, really believe that we’ve got the personnel in our squad to challenge them.

“If you look at our bowling attack, I strongly believe it’s one of the best attacks in the competition. So we need to combine that with our batting to try and get that perfect performance.  

“We’re at the Wanderers where we really play good cricket, so the Titans can be beaten.” 

While rain left the Titans frustrated, it was an even worse weekend for the Lions after they lost both their games – first to the Cape Cobras last Friday and then against the Warriors on Sunday. 

“It was a disappointing weekend for us, very frustrating in many ways and there were some decisions over the two games that proved to be crucial,” Toyana reflected.

“But that is now behind us and we look forward to playing good cricket in front of our home fans. 

“It’s a big one also if you consider the bottle neck on the table with so many teams so close by. That’s what makes this game even more crucial.” 

The bottle neck the coach refers to is the log jam developing behind the Titans. The Dolphins are presently second on 10 points, while the Warriors are last on six and it appears that five teams will be fighting for three semi-final positions at this stage, unless the champions can be caught. 

For the Centurion-based outfit, the next five matches will be about maintaining the high standards they have set for themselves, according to assistant coach Mandla Mashimbyi. 

“We’re all aware what we need to do to maintain the high levels we set for ourselves,” he said.

“We want to win every game and Wednesday will be no different.” 

The Titans assistant coach admits he has seen improvement in the Lions from their opening round meeting when they won by eight wickets at SuperSport Park. 

However, he expects his side to win if they can maintain the same intensity from the first half of the campaign. 

“They’ve definitely showed some improvement from the first game we played,” Mashimbyi added.

“So we’ll respect them because there’s no chance of us taking any team lightly in the competition. 

“We’ll go out there and aim to play like we always do because we know when we play with a certain intensity, it will be difficult for anyone to beat us.”

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