Pha­l­aborwa Ex­press rar­ing to go af­ter a year on the side­lines

The New Age (Northern Cape) - - SPORT - NEVILLE KHOZA nevillek@the­newage.co.za

DALE Steyn will mark his re­turn to cricket af­ter a year on the side­lines when the Mul­ti­ply Ti­tans meet VKB Knights in their sec­ond match of the Ram Slam T20 Chal­lenge at the Di­a­mond Oval in Kim­ber­ley to­day.

Steyn has been in­cluded in the Ti­tans 13-man squad and will be itch­ing for some ac­tion as the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons look to build on the win in the open­ing match of the tour­na­ment.

This means the team from Pre­to­ria will boast at least six cur­rent internationals in­clud­ing Quin­ton de Kock, AB de Vil­liers, Farhaan Be­har­dien, Ai­den Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Lungi Ngidi.

Chris Mor­ris and Morné Morkel are still re­cov­er­ing from their in­juries and are ex­pected to re­turn to ac­tion later this month in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Hav­ing de­feated the Highveld Lions by eight wick­ets and a bonus point in their open­ing match, Ti­tans coach Mark Boucher was pleased with his team’s show­ing but he feels they can still im­prove.

“It was good to start with a win but I still thought we were a lit­tle bit rusty. I don’t think we bowled par­tic­u­larly well and I don’t think we fielded par­tic­u­larly well,” Boucher said.

“Ob­vi­ously, we have a strong bat­ting line-up and I think it made the game look a lot eas­ier than it ac­tu­ally was. So there’s a lot of ar­eas I feel we can im­prove on go­ing into to­day.”

With nine of the 11 play­ers turned out for the Ti­tans against the Lions hav­ing in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and the ad­di­tion of Steyn, Boucher feels they have a strong team.

“I think the Proteas play­ing are go­ing to raise the stan­dard of cricket be­cause it’s go­ing to give a lot of the do­mes­tic play­ers an op­por­tu­nity they rarely have, which is to test them­selves and sort of judge them­selves as to how good they re­ally are when they are up against a Protea bowler or bat­ter.”

Knights coach Nicky Boje was also pleased with their start fol­low­ing an eight-wicket vic­tory over the War­riors in Port Elizabeth on Fri­day.

“The Ti­tans are a qual­ity side with qual­ity through­out their squad,” Boje said.

“They have plenty of big names, but it’s not about that at the end of the day. It’s how you play in the match that counts.

“We’ll be go­ing out there try­ing to make sure we do our ba­sics right in a com­pe­ti­tion that is look­ing great with all the in­ter­na­tional play­ers.”

The game will start at 6pm.

PIC­TURE: GALLO IMAGES

STEAM TRAIN: Proteas and Ti­tans bowler Dale Steyn.

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