Multiply Titans skipper Heinrich Klaasen described their 12-run loss to the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in the Momentum One-Day Cup as a good learning experience.
The Titans were chasing 309 to win, but fell a dozen short, in a match littered by some high-quality names and performances. The Dolphins prevailed in the end, but Klaasen felt that his side would take plenty of lessons at this early stage of the competition.
“I thought it was a very good wicket, and I thought they were maybe 10-15 runs short. But I definitely felt like it was chase-able and the wicket played really well. There was a short boundary as well, and it was quite difficult to defend that short side,” he said after Sunday’s clash.
The Titans had started their campaign with a convincing win over the VKB Knights, which was built around an excellent chase. That chase saw Tony de Zorzi and Henry Davids make an excellent start, and the duo again looked on track against the Dolphins.
“I think, up front, Henry and Tony played quite well and it’s always easier to catch up SuperSport Park. So we didn’t mind the slow start,” he said of the tempo.
The match turned when the Titans had a middle-order wobble, and there was a lot left to do at the end. That said, the rate never got out of hand. The Dolphins had a smart bowling attack for the death, however, and Klaasen paid tribute to their efforts.
“I thought we had it in the bag, then that little phase when myself, Heino (Kuhn) and (Chris) Morris went out was when I thought we’re in a bit of trouble here, with 24 needed off 12. It was always going be tough against their bowling attack,” he admitted.
The match was a sharp reminder of how swiftly things can change, especially in white-ball cricket. The Titans had been in the contest for the majority of proceedings, but they slipped off for a brief time, and paid a heavy price.
“I honestly think it was just the last three or four overs of the game. We had little bit of a slip-up and we weren’t on top of our game. That’s where we lost the game,” Klaasen noted.
“The first 90-96 we played extremely well. We were in control of what we were doing and I was happy with that phase. It’s just those last 4 overs where we weren’t there mentally and that cost us the game. It’s a good learning experience and we need to learn quick, but we can take a lot of positives from the game.”
The bowling was again impressive, headlined by four wickets for Lungi Ngidi. The spinners also did a job in the middle overs, and that bodes well for the latter stages of the competition, when the Titans travel to coastal grounds that will encourage even more turn.
They now have a decent break to take stock of where they are, before a hectic period of travel and play next week. As for Klaasen and captaincy, the new Sky Blues leader said he was enjoying the new challenge, and was receiving all the help he needed from the experienced core in the side.
“It’s a good challenge. I love it! It keeps me developing as a cricketer. The guys are a nice team to captain and it’s easy with all the experience we’ve got in the team. I can always rely on Henry, Farhaan, Heino and the experienced guys. A lot of the young guys have good cricket brains so, for me, feeding off all the information and working with everyone has been a pleasure. I’m really enjoying it at this moment,” he added with a smile.