Dolphins, Titans want more from youngsters
Nashua Titans coach Matthew Maynard has challenged his inexperienced squad to dig deep and make the telling contributions that swing matches in their favour ahead of their Sunfoil Series visit to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead to take on the Sunfoil Dolphins from 27 December.
"It's a mindset, really, and I think Andrew Puttick demonstrated how to do it against us in Cape Town. We managed to get a few hundreds as a team in the Momentum One-Day Cup, and we need those now in this format of the game," he encouraged.
Maynard's team has been stretched by a combination of national call-ups and injuries, and he is missing, amongst others, regular stalwarts like Henry Davids, Farhaan Behardien, Marchant de Lange and the consistent Ethy Mbhalathi.
"It's not easy to have that many out at the same time, but it gives an opportunity for the younger players to put their hands up."
Maynard said the heavy loss to the table-topping Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras was down to a poor first innings when his green-horn top order was exposed by the Cobras' class. "They had Vernon Philander, while he was fit, Justin Kemp, Johann Louw - and they all put us under a lot of pressure. Had we weathered that storm a bit better, it could have changed things," he lamented.
The Nashua Titans face a Sunfoil Dolphins side that is also coming off a heavy loss against the Chevrolet Knights, who recovered from a parlous 108 for 6 to pile up over 450 runs in their first innings, inspired by the unlikely Johan van der Wath.
"It is a concern that we have been in a number of very good positions in our last three matches, and just not finished sides off," coach Lance Klusener sighed.
"You know, good teams take advantage of those slip-ups, and we have ended up losing two of those games and drawing one. We need to be a bit more ruthless at those stages, and I suppose it's an opportunity for one or two of the guys to really step up and lead the attack."
Klusener, who played in the golden era of Natal cricket, added that perhaps it was time to revert back to greener, meaner Kingsmead track that would offer more for bowlers.
"We now need to take a few risks to keep up in this competition, and I think it is definitely an option for us. We want to put the opposition under a bit more pressure and then capitalise on that, and hopefully we can do that this week," he said.
"We have fallen behind, but we now have back-to-back home games, and we really need to win both of them to keep up with the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras and the Chevrolet Warriors," Klusener implored.