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Cricket | 4-Day Franchise Series 2018/19

Mark Boucher © Gallo Images

Boucher seeks improvement from Titans in derby

Multiply Titans coach Mark Boucher is expecting another tough battle against the bizhub Highveld Lions when the two sides meet in a 4-Day Domestic Series derby from Monday, and says their focus will be on trying to improve their performance at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

The champions have not enjoyed the best of title defences thus far, winning just once in seven matches to sit second bottom on the table.

They have also lost the most games compared to everyone else and were on the wrong end of results four times already this term.

“We can look for excuses as much as we want, but quite simply, we haven’t played good cricket in all departments,” Boucher lamented. “It’s been frustrating.

“We’ve had to use a lot of players as well, 25 I think it is, so that doesn’t help, it’s tested our depth a bit. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see how we can improve going forward.”

Their opponents, the Lions, are the closest challengers to the log-leading World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and currently trail by just under 20 points.

The Johannesburg-based side will be looking to attack in their bid to win the game, but Boucher says they too may look to go out and take the game to the visitors.

“The Lions have been playing good cricket and they’ve done it throughout the season,” he said. “I think the reason they’re second is because the Cobras have just been that more consistent, but I'm not worried about them, I'm looking at improving our processes.

“We’ll be looking to go out there and win, there’s no point playing for any other result.”

Boucher, whose side were beaten by the Warriors in the last game, also feels that the Cobras should win the title this year, but says there is still plenty for the other sides to play for.

“If you look at the Cobras, they are streets ahead of everyone else and if they play half decent cricket, then they should walk away with the title,” he added. “It’s going to be difficult for anyone to catch them.

“For me it’s about what we do at the Titans to get our systems right and give opportunities to guys who will take them.

“There’s still a lot to play for, even though it’s not the title, but certainly positions and opportunity to young players with an eye on next season.”

Lions coach Enoch Nkwe, meanwhile, saw his players bounce back from a defeat to the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at the end of last year with a crushing victory over the same opponents last weekend.

It left him pleased with their progress and now he is seeking to keep the pressure on the Cobras at the summit.

“It (the last win) certainly does keep us in the mix,” he said. “It was a good display from the guys.

“We had some changes with guys like Wiaan Mulder and Kagiso Rapulana coming in and they added a lot of value with their contributions.

“It was a good all-round performance from the guys after what happened in the previous game. But we did put that to bed and the biggest focus was to start the year well, which we did.”

Regarding the title run-in, Nkwe added: “We’re on the road for the last three games and we’ll be just going out there with the focus on each game and each day in fact.

“The Cobras have played good cricket all season, but we’ll not stop trying to catch them.”


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