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Prepare for a spectacular clash

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Their main focus will be on getting some form back into their batsmen before the semi-finals.

Only the Dolphins and Cape Cobras know exactly what they will be doing and most importantly where they will be doing it next week when the One-Day Cup semi-finals take place.

The Dolphins, as a result of topping the competition’s standings will be playing in one of those semis at Kingsmead. The Cobras will be watching everyone else battle it out after finishing last. The other four teams face a final round of matches of varying degrees of tension.

The highest levels of anxiety will be at Centurion on Sunday, where the Titans, currently in fourth – the last semi-final spot – face the VKB Knights, who are fifth, one point behind them. It’s a knockout game in all but name.

It should be a spectacle as both teams have been in good form lately. The Knights have won three of their last five matches, and were having the better of their last match against the Highveld Lions when rained ended it in the 43rd over of the Lions’ innings with the visitors on 188/7 at the Mangaung Oval on Tuesday.

Knights Openers Andries Gous and Jacques Snyman have found some hot form in the last few weeks to help propel the team from the ranks of also-rans to play-off contenders. Their approaches differ; Gous adopts a more classical approach, happy to build an innings and score runs in the manner found in a text book, while Snyman, utilises his power and seems determined to bash a cricket ball to smithereens.

When the two teams met in Kimberley two weeks ago, it was Gous who starred making an unbeaten 163 off 145 balls as the Knights successfully chased 308. The Titans’ bowling let them down in that game, but so did their batting with the middle order not building on the excellent start that had been provided by centuries from Aiden Markram and Diego Rosier.

In the last couple of matches, that changed and the Titans achieved two crucial victories as a result.

The bowling was much better against the Lions and Cobras, with off-spinner Imran Manack continuing to take wickets, and on Wednesday, seamer, Dayyaan Galiem bowling with accuracy and aggression. Dean Elgar, Grant Thomson and Farhaan Behardien in the Titans middle order all made crucial contributions with the bat in those two wins.

For the Lions and Warriors, the pressure in their final matches won’t be as intense. The Lions, after a hot start to the competition, have stumbled into the semi-finals, and there is a chance they could miss out on a home semi if they lose to the Dolphins in Potchefstroom today and the Warriors beat the Cobras with a bonus point.

Their main focus will be on getting some form back into their batsmen before the semi-finals.

The Warriors could miss out on the semis if they lose to the Cobras, a highly unlikely outcome, however, given the Cobras’ collectively poor batting displays in the competition.

Schedule

Today

Potchefstroom (1.30pm): Lions vs Dolphins

Tomorrow

East London (1.30pm): Warriors vs Cape Cobras

Sunday

Centurion (10am): Titans vs Knights