Using their last two round-robin games this weekend as preparation for the RamSlam T20 Challenge semi-finals means the Multiply Titans are focused on sharpening their skills even further, according to finishing maestro Farhaan Behardien.
Which means they were delighted for the wake-up call the vkb Knights gave them last weekend and they are hoping for more learning experiences in their matches against the WSB Cape Cobras at PPC Newlands on Friday night and against the HollywoodBets Dolphins at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Sunday.
“We’re using the next two games as a platform for the semi-finals and at the start of the season we set out our stall to win every game, that’s one of our goals – to keep raising the bar. So it will be 100% no different this weekend even though the games don’t mean anything for us on the log.
“It was an awesome game to have against the Knights because things have been going quite well for us, and we needed a match like that just to get us back to basics and revisit our mistakes. But we also want to keep fresh this weekend and maybe give one or two other players a run,” said Behardien.
While the Multiply Titans’ form so far this season has been imperious, Behardien said the hunger for improvement never stops.
“We want to be the best franchise in the country, which is why so many national players choose us, and it’s definitely one of our goals to dominate local cricket, so we’ve set really high standards. We have some very experienced cricketers and a couple of very exciting youngsters, so they are busy learning from some of the best.
“Having that sort of personnel definitely helps and we want to be the best domestic team in the world, set the example for the other sides in this country. Our admin is really good too, the CEO, Jacques Faul, works very hard on the business side and leaves the playing side to Albie Morkel and Mark Boucher," he said.
Behardien was, of course, the hero of the thrilling win over the Knights with his masterful innings of 56 not out off 39 balls on a St George’s Park pitch that made quick scoring very difficult. It took his tally this season to 187 runs in five innings without being dismissed, at a strike-rate of 178.09, and the 34-year-old said that this year he is batting as well as he ever has.
“That knock came under pressure, which is when you want to perform, when your team is being pushed and they have no other resort. So it was very pleasing and I think this is the best I have ever played.
"I’ve been training really hard and Mark Boucher has added a different dimension to my batting: just a little technical change but mostly in terms of my confidence and the intensity of my approach, and that has been very evident. I get a lot of flak because the position I play in is a tough gig, it’s a high-risk, high-reward type role, but it’s all going awesome right now,” said Behardien.
The semi-final will require calm heads from the Titans and the high-flying Cape Cobras, who have won four tight games on the trot, will certainly test their composure on Friday.
“The weather is lovely in Cape Town and the game is going to be hot as well because the Cape Cobras are desperate for a home semi-final, so they’ll really want to perform. It’s always beautiful to play at Newlands and it’s the north/south derby so we’ll really be able to test ourselves.
“We were a bit frantic in the first six overs against the Knights, but guys like Albie and Chris Morris at six and seven bring a lot of experience and calm heads. We don’t always get it right and there is a little bit of panic at times, but we do seem to be a bit better than the other teams at staying calm,” Behardien said.
Multiply Titans squad to face the WSB Cape Cobras (from): Albie Morkel (c), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.