The days of being cautious with the bat in limited-overs cricket are as dead as the dodo for the Multiply Titans, with captain Albie Morkel saying he wants the batsmen to take their aggression to another level when the RamSlam T20 Challenge gets underway on Sunday.
The Titans won both white-ball titles last season, in no small measure because they took their batting to a new level never before seen in South African domestic limited-overs cricket.
The Titans reached 400 on three occasions in last season’s 50-over competition, the Momentum One-Day Cup, including a record-breaking 425 for five in the final against the Warriors at SuperSport Park. In the T20 tournament, the Titans went past 180 on four occasions, including another domestic record in lashing 230 for five against the bizhub Highveld Lions, in Centurion.
Those exploits were made possible by the flying starts given to the Titans by mostly Aiden Markram, Jonathan Vandiar and Henry Davids; with openers averaging well above 50 and scoring at better than a run-ball, the batting unit is always likely to soar to great heights.
“The batsmen must keep playing with freedom and flair. If conditions allow it, then we’ve set ourselves the target of a score of 200 for every innings, we want the batsmen to go a step further, to provide extra impetus. To get 180 is also good, but then you can still fall short,” said Morkel.
“In the 50 overs competition, we passed 400 three times and that doesn’t happen by chance, it comes because the batsmen are encouraged to be aggressive. Batting deep is also important and having guys in the middle who can hit boundaries.”
The Titans start the defence of their title against their neighbours from Johannesburg, the Lions, at SuperSport Park on Sunday, November 12, as the main attraction of a double-header also featuring the WSB Cape Cobras against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins. Morkel’s team also scored 194 for four in their game against the Lions at the Wanderers, on their way to a 42-run win.
With the Titans producing such entertaining, winning T20 cricket, the hour is now to make plans to watch their campaign for a hat-trick of titles. To make attending their games even more attractive, a number of Proteas stars will be playing.
“We didn’t win the last two competitions by chance, we have a recipe that has proved itself, although there are always small things we can improve on. It’s always nice to start a new competition with some sort of momentum and most of the guys have put in good performances to go to the top of the Sunfoil Series log.
“We’ll have a few players from the Proteas as well and we’ll be able to put good sides out on the field again, guys who know how to play T20 and how to play the big moments. Form is very important, but so too is the team gelling together.
“We would now rather rotate players than loan them out, but we have to be mature about it and by the knockouts we should know who the guys in form are. Until then we need to do the basics right, you can’t overlook how important small things are, every ball is an event,” concluded Morkel.