Cape Town — Assistant coach Mandla Mashimbyi insists the Titans will not be taking their foot off the pedal despite having already qualified for the One-Day Cup semi-finals as they prepare to host the struggling Highveld Lions in their derby clash in Benoni on Thursday.
The day match, which begins at 10:00 on Human Rights Day at Willowmoore Park, puts top versus bottom as the hosts aim to maintain their momentum against a visiting side desperate for a big win to stay alive in the play-off hunt.
After a slow start to the competition, the Titans have been in supreme form of late, winning five matches in a row to storm 10 points clear at the summit.
In fact, they have not lost in the entire month of March, with their last defeat coming in the reverse fixture in Potchefstroom at the end of February.
“It’s always good to keep your foot on the pedal,” Mashimbyi said. “We getting to that stage where momentum to the semi-finals is also very important, so every game is important. Obviously now there’s a bit more belief within the group, which helps as well and hopefully that continues.”
The Lions didn’t just beat the Titans in their earlier meeting; they humbled them by eight wickets in that game.
However, Mashimbyi insists his side was not worried about revenge or the result knocking their neighbours out.
He says they remain focussed on improving the areas they have fallen short in.
“The focus is on us and our processes,” he explained. “What happened in that game is in the past and the only thing we need to take from it is the lessons. It’s nice to reflect on where we went wrong and see how we can improve in those areas.”
For the Lions, however, they need more than just a win. They need other results to go in their favour, while they must also gain some bonus points from their last two matches.
That win over the Titans remains the only one and they currently have just 10 points from eight games.
Coach Enoch Nkwe admits it is out of their hands but says that good cricket was all he wants to see from his players.
“I think even if we don’t progress to the semis, we want to be learning and improving all the time,” he said. “I think in this situation it’s now out of our hands, so we’ll be looking for momentum to get us going into the next competition after this one.
“Obviously, it will be ideal if we can win the next two and get through, but we know it might not happen.”
Nkwe, though, acknowledges that the match is a derby with more than just points at stake.
“Either way, it is a derby,” he concluded. “No motivation is needed, so we’ll be giving everything in Benoni.”
The Titans squad is:
Farhaan Behardien, Corbin Bosch, Junior Dala, Theunis de Bruyn, Eldred Hawken, Heino Kuhn, Gregory Mahlokwana, Dean Elgar (capt), Rivaldo Moonsamy, Marcello Piedt, Diego Rosier, Kabelo Sekhukhune, Grant Thomson, Jonathan Vandiar. The Lions squad is:
To be confirmed