Farhaan Behardien has carved out a niche for himself as the finest finisher in domestic cricket. Whatever the situation, the Multiply Titans pivot seems to have the remedy for any given situation.
On Wednesday, in the first Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final against the Cape Cobras, the Titans had slipped to 65 for five, chasing a tricky 188. Behardien was joined by Corbin Bosch, and the visitors sensed that the door was open for an upset.
“Our immediate target was to get through their main bowlers. I said to Corbin that if we can get through that tough period, then the back up bowlers have to come on, and we can bat a bit more freely,” he explained.
It was a masterclass in soaking up the pressure, and then flipping it back onto the Cobras as the target came into sight.
“The situation played into my hands, and I had a capable partner in Corbin. He has proved himself in four-day cricket this season. We got through a tough period, and then we built up a nice partnership. It was tough for Vern and Rory coming back,” he said of the game situation changing.
Behardien, who has been there and done it all domestically, heaped praise on his partner, who continues to make strides in the Titans plans.
“He’s quite an intelligent kid, but a bit rough around the edges. He won the under 19 World Cup with Aiden (Markram) and KG (Rabada), so there is definitely some temperament there,” Behardien enthused.
He added that he had enjoyed being out in the heat of the contest with Bosch, and tried to give him as much encouragement as possible.
“It was nice for me to be out there. I was the old bull, and him the young calf. I was just keeping him calm, trying to keep him focussed on playing straight, especially to the accurate bowlers.”
For the Titans, the passage into the final represents a massive switch in fortunes, after the most testing of four-day campaigns. A win on Sunday would go a long way to soothing some of that hurt.
“It’s a massive turnaround for us. The four-day campaign didn’t go as planned, and there was a lot of disruption, with a lot of call-ups to the national side, and injuries. We used over 30 players in that competition. That is not an excuse, but we didn’t handle that well.”
Now, however, they are a side packed with Proteas quality, and they will be a very difficult side to beat. Their top-order is yet to fire, but they have the bowling arsenal to take care of most situations.
“Dale (Steyn) and Junior (Dala) bowled fantastically well for us, in that old cliché North v South derby. For us to come away with a win tonight, it is something that we will savour, and then put to bed,” he said, looking ahead to the final on Sunday.
The Dolphins are now all that stands between the Titans and a reunion with a trophy that they are very familiar with.