About the Match
The Titans and the Dolphins get ready to play their last league game of the Ram Slam 2017 knowing that both of them are likely to have already qualified for the knockouts. In fact, the Titans have definitely made it to the knockouts while the Dolphins should get there even if they lose this match, provided nothing extreme happens.
This last match could then serve to provide a perfect opportunity for both teams to fine-tune their plans ahead of the big games.
After sitting out ages waiting to play a game, the Dolphins finally got their chance in a rain-shortened game against the Knights. They were up against it after the Knights had put in a good batting performance but some brilliant innings from Morne van Wyk, Dane Vilas, and Robbie Frylinck helped the Dolphins ace a brilliant chase under immense pressure.
This was the perfect match for the Dolphins who needed to get their batsmen in form. Sarel Erwee was the only batsman who had scored big runs for them up until now and now that three more of their batsmen have contributed in meaningful ways, the Dolphins will be in a much better position than before.
The experiment to send Andile Phehlukwayo up the order, van Jaarsfveld at number three, and of holding back Imran Tahir until all other bowlers had bowled were some tactics that we could not wrap our heads around.
Hopefully, the Dolphins leadership will sit down and get their plans in order ahead of the upcoming games.
Now that the Dolphins have hit some batting form and their bowling continues to be of a high quality, their team is looking like a genuine dark horse for the title this year.
Chopping and changing your team until you end up resting every one of the match winners was bound to backfire one of these days and that is exactly what happened against the Cape Cobras. The Titans finally lost their first game of the tournament but even their depleted side managed to push a strong Cape Cobras team to the brink.
We expect the Titans to be back at full strength for the last league game so that they can get in the correct frame of mind before the knockouts. This means a return of players like AB de Villiers, Aiden Markram, Albie Morkel, alongside the brilliant Farhaan Behardien.
They also have Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Lungi Ngidi in the squad to make for a playing eleven where most of them have international experience. A full strength Titans team seems very difficult to stop and we don’t think this small defeat will mean anything to the squad.
This Titans tournament has been about AB de Villiers playing with the hunger of old and decimating attacks with absolute ease. Widely regarded as the best batsman in the world, AB de Villiers has the ability to win a game from almost any position.
Perhaps, another player who has been in incredible form but flown under the radar somewhat is Farhaan Behardien. The middle-order batsman has only got out once in the entire tournament while scoring runs at a strike rate of close to 200 and clearing the boundaries with ease in every match.
The bowling for the Titans is very impressive thanks to the presence of Steyn and Morris. Both the bowlers are returning from long layoffs due to injury but seem to have recovered to be at their best.
Of the Titans have all of their players available for selection then the biggest problem they have in front of them is actually deciding who to leave out. Winning, we think, won't be as much of an issue for them.
Pitch and conditions
Excellent cricket playing weather has been forecast for Durban with sunshine being forecast on match day. Durban has provided some true wickets on which the batsmen can score plenty of runs with some bounce in it for the fast bowlers that are willing to bend their backs. We expect to see plenty of runs in this match and scores of 190-200 may be breached with ease.
The first scheduled match between the two sides was washout out. The four previous matches between the two sides have seen the Titans win three of them but the Dolphins won the most recent completed match.
For this match, though, we are backing the Titans to win