Boucher rues lack of in­ten­sity

TI­TANS COACH: WE DIDN’T DE­SERVE TO WIN THE TI­TLE

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT - Ken Bor­land

Von Berg, Kuhn, how­ever, showed true grit.

Ti­tans coach Mark Boucher said his team have not played to the best of their abil­ity and that the Knights fully de­serve their nar­row tri­umph in the Sun­foil Se­ries.

The Knights beat the Highveld Lions by an in­nings and 121 runs in the fi­nal round of fix­tures, but they only topped the ta­ble by 1.78 points and it could have been so dif­fer­ent for the Ti­tans had they just bat­ted bet­ter in the first in­nings of their last game, against the War­riors, when they were bowled out for just 227 and only earned 2.54 bat­ting points; just 90 more runs and the Ti­tans would have won the ti­tle.

“We knew what we had to get, we knew we had to bat well, but we haven’t played the way we can the whole sea­son and we didn’t de­serve to win the ti­tle. The Knights threw their all into their game against the Lions, their gam­ble worked and they played un­be­liev­able cricket to score 443 and then bowl the Lions out for just 87.

“Our bat­ting in gen­eral has to im­prove, par­tic­u­larly in terms of part­ner­ships, as cen­turies win you tro­phies. We only played to within 60 to 70% of our ca­pa­bil­i­ties and were within a point or so of win­ning the ti­tle, but I don’t blame the last game, there were other matches where we didn’t bat well enough and we tended to lose ses­sions badly. There were some great in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances, but we didn’t quite gel as a unit,” Boucher said.

Two of those great in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances came in the fi­nal game against the War­riors as Shaun von Berg be­came the first player to score a cen­tury and take 10 wick­ets in the match in a fran­chise game, and Heino Kuhn steered the Ti­tans to a record tar­get of 315 with a stun­ning 165 not out.

“Ev­ery time Shaun comes into the team, he pro­duces the goods and does the busi­ness. Last week he and Hein­rich Klaasen won the game for us and he’s a street-fighter, I re­ally en­joy hav­ing him in the team. He’s one of those guys that it would do the Proteas no harm to have a look at – his leg-spin has come on leaps and bounds, he con­sis­tently hits good ar­eas, and he could do a good job as a sec­ond spin­ner on the sub-con­ti­nent.

“Heino showed what a great player he is and showed his char­ac­ter by tough­ing it out when he didn’t feel great. That in­nings an­swered ev­ery­thing when it comes to ques­tions over him play­ing for the Proteas, he car­ried his bat and won the game,” Boucher said.

The coach danced around the is­sue, how­ever, of whether the Ti­tans had un­suc­cess­fully gam­bled with a Wil­low­moore Park pitch that had in­con­sis­tent bounce from the first day, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult for them to keep up with the Knights’ haul of 6.70 bat­ting points.

Pic­ture: Back­pagepix

GRA­CIOUS IN DE­FEAT. Ti­tans coach Mark Boucher has doffed his hat at the Knights af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out on the ti­tle.

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