Beware of the streetwise Warriors‚ warns Boucher ahead of Ram Slam T20 semi

13 December 2017 - 11:12 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Warriors celebrate a wicket during the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match between Warriors and WSB Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park on December 10, 2017 in East London.
Warriors celebrate a wicket during the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match between Warriors and WSB Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park on December 10, 2017 in East London.
Image: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

Titans coach Mark Boucher has warned his players to be careful of streetwise Warriors in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge semifinal at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday (6pm).

The Warriors take on defending champions in a repeat of last year’s final and Boucher said the visitors from the Eastern Cape have a number of senior players who have experience of playing in cup finals.

“Their senior players have come to the party and they are used to playing final cricket as well‚" he said.

"They have not done that well against us in the past but the more you play those sort of games‚ the more you gain experience.

"They are a streetwise team and we understand that they have some great players.

"We will respect that and we will prepare accordingly‚” he said‚ adding that they are focused on themselves in their preparations.

“We are more worried about what we will bring on the day in terms of execution.

"We do believe that if we rock up and play at 100% of our ability then there shouldn’t be a team that will compete with us.

"And I say this with all due respect to the other guys but on paper the ability of our players is top quality.”

Boucher has included captain Albie Morkel‚ AB de Villiers‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Aiden Markram‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Chris Morris‚ Morne Morkel and Quinton de Kock in the squad while Dale Steyn miss out to focus on his recovery to be ready for Proteas’ four day Test against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day.

“I am not worried at all‚ these guys are used to sitting out and coming back in a big game.

"We have won plenty of trophies here‚ a semi-final is a once off game and we are confident that we can bring a good team on the field.

"If you look at the squad for this match‚ it is very similar to the one in Cape Town where we went in with one batter shy.

"So who would you pick to come back in the side as a batter?

"In a T20 game you want to cover all angles.

"I think we have seven batters‚ a couple of very good hitters at the death‚ we have great spin variety and we have great pace bowling.

"We cover all the bases‚ we tick all the boxes‚ it is just about execution on the day now.”

Titans hold a massive head-to-head advantage over the Warriors where they have won 16 out of 25 meetings‚ including two wins this season and victory in last season’s final but visiting coach Malibongwe Maketa is not bothered.

“We’re very pleased to be here after what was quite a tough start for us‚” he said.

“We had to change a few things around and it worked for us.

"Now we are looking ahead to a semifinal high on confidence but also knowing that we have to start from scratch tomorrow.

"This is a one-off match and the past doesn’t matter.”

Titans Squad: Albie Morkel (c)‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Junior Dala‚ Henry Davids‚ Quinton de Kock‚ AB de Villiers‚ Heinrich Klaasen‚ Aiden Markram‚ Morne Morkel‚ Chris Morris‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Malusi Siboto‚ Shaun von Berg

Warriors Squad: Jon-Jon Smuts (c)‚ Andrew Birch‚ Gihahn Cloete‚ Colin Ingram‚ Christiaan Jonker‚ Sisanda Magala‚ Lesiba Ngoepe‚ Anrich Nortje‚ Jerry Nqolo‚ Ayabulela Gqamane‚ Colin Ackerman‚ Kelly Smuts‚ Yaseen Vallie‚ Basheer Walters