Titans coach Mark Boucher has reacted angrily to suggestions that the Titans did not take their final group match in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge seriously enough when they fielded a weakened team and lost heavily to the Dolphins at Kingsmead on Sunday.
The Titans were bowled out for just 79 to lose by 89 runs and concede the bonus point which allowed the Dolphins to claim a home semi final ahead of the Cobras who lost their final game to the Warriors at Buffalo Park.
“There were so many valid reasons for what we did,” Boucher said. “We had two back-to-back away games with a travel day between them and only arrived back in Pretoria at 4:00pm on Monday. That gave us one day to prepare for the semi final. If we had taken our full strength squad we would not have been giving ourselves the best chance of winning.
“I heard people criticising us for not giving young guys like Tony de Zorzi and Rivaldo Moonsamy a chance because of all our Proteas players then, when we do, we get criticised again. It seems to me we can’t win this argument,” Boucher said.
“It was a very dry pitch, much like subcontinent conditions, which we weren’t expecting. Some of the guys who played had very little experience of the ball ‘stopping’ and turning square. They were gutted about the way they played and for being bowled out for such a low total, but I have some sympathy for them.
“But it was still a team with quality players in it – Tony and Rivaldo are SA under-19 players, Dean Elgar has a brilliant T20 record, Heinrich Klaasen has been on a Proteas Test tour and David Wiese is a Proteas! Shaun von Berg has been one of the leading spinners in the country for a couple of years, Morne Morkel is one of the best in the world. It wasn’t our strongest team, obviously, but nobody can tell me with a straight face it was a ‘weak’ team,” Boucher said.
Titans chief executive, Jacques Faul, was no less irate than his captain and threatened to take the strongest action if accusations persisted: “If I hear anybody accusing us of anything dishonest, let alone throwing the match, I will sue them,” Faul said.
Boucher’s final word on the subject? “We earned the right to select the team as we did because of the way we played in the earlier rounds, and we did everything for the good of Titans cricket. Frankly, I don’t particularly care about other Franchises. I’m paid to care about Titans and do what is best for us.”
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