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Cricket | RAM SLAM T20 Challenge

Matthew Maynard © Gallo Images

Titans draw on 2012 positives



They may have been the team to beat last season, but 2012/13 has not been the best by the standards of the Nashua Titans and they will be desperate to make the most of their final chance in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge that starts this week.

The Pretoria franchise notably slumped from first to last within the space of 12 months as the defence of their Sunfoil Series went horribly wrong.

But coach Matthew Maynard is hoping the arrival of the final competition of the year will offer them new possibilities.

“It’s a fresh start…we’ve discussed that with the boys after the (last Sunfoil Series) match on Saturday,” Maynard told supersport.com.

“We’ve got to learn the lessons from our Sunfoil Series campaign, but for the moment we’ve also got to put the thought of it to the side and really have to focus on our Twenty20 game.

“Hopefully that will happen early in the week, and then we’ll start looking ahead to Friday.

“It’s a different competition, we need to execute our skills as well as we did in the competition last year.”

During the last campaign captain Martin van Jaarsveld, who no longer plays first-class cricket, proved key with the bat and so did Twenty20 globetrotter Alfonso Thomas. Both were among the leading performers within their discipline and will be back to bolster the team this year.

Apart from their four-day flop, the Centurion outfit did have a decent enough Momentum One Day Cup when they qualified for the playoffs.

They also did the same in the Champions League Twenty20 where they lost in the semifinals to eventual champions Sydney Sixers.

Maynard sees that as a major positive as he prepares his charges for the 20-over tournament.

They launch their campaign against the Sunfoil Dolphins in Durban on Friday and the Welshman continued: “The last time we were involved in T20 cricket, we played some pretty good stuff.

“Our side is pretty similar to the side that played in that competition, so I’m very excited about the upcoming tournament.

“I think the T20 competition is the one that everyone wants to win these days. There’s the added value of the Champions League and the added resources that can bring to the franchise.”

Apart from batsman Van Jaarsveld and bowler Thomas, the Titans’ challenge is also boosted by the return from long-term injuries of speedster Marchant de Lange and all-rounder Albie Morkel.

Another seamer Ethy Mbhalati is also fit again and Maynard is hoping the return of some of their star players will bring about a change in fortunes.

“We’ve had some players miss out in the last few rounds of the Sunfoil Series, so they’ve had the opportunity to work on their T20 skills,” he added.

“There’s Ethy, Martin and Albie Morkel, so they’ll probably be ahead of the guys in terms of preparations, but the guys are all comfortable in this format.

“This is a competition we must do well in this year.”

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