AB de Villiers' return boosts Titans' Momentum ODI final hopes

The Titans have been massively boosted by the availability of Proteas batting superstar AB de Villiers and all-rounder Chris Morris for the remainder of the Momentum One Day Cup campaign.

De Viliers and Morris‚ who were part of the Proteas ODI side that beat New Zealand 3-2 recently‚ have been added to the Titans squad for their all-important clash against the Warriors at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Tuesday morning.

The second-placed Titans will return to the top of the standings if they beat the third-placed Warriors and having De Villiers‚ the best ODI batsman in the world‚ and Morris will enhance their chances.

“We got some fresh faces in AB (De Villiers) and Chris Morris‚ two not too bad players to be able to add to your squad‚ so we’ll be ready‚” said Boucher.

Looking ahead to the Warriors clash‚ Titans coach Mark Boucher described it as a final where there will be very little room for error.

“It’s like a final.

"Even though we don’t want to look too far ahead‚ if we can win (on Tuesday) we can still effectively get a home final.

"So it’s a very big game for us and the boys are treating it accordingly.

"It will be a third game back-to-back and hopefully we can finish well."

The T20 Challenge champions have had some close run-ins with the Warriors in the recent past and Boucher conceded that Tuesday’s clash will be no different.

“Everyone knows the Warriors and the fight they play with‚ so we know exactly what to expect.

"We are well aware that rocking up and playing at 70 percent will not cut it.

"We have to be at our best.”

For Warriors coach Malibongwe Maketa‚ it is about time an important match against the same opponents went their way but for effort rather than luck.

“We feel that every time we play against them we do it very well because we know how good they are‚” he said.

“In close games‚ the rub of the green sometimes hasn’t gone or way.

"But we believe that through our hard work‚ it finally will go our way.

"Not because it’s our turn (for luck to turn).

"The harder you work‚ the closer you will get to your opponent and we’ve worked really hard to get that result tomorrow.”

In the other match scheduled for Tuesday‚ the Knights could take another step towards the play-offs with victory over the struggling Lions at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.

While most of the focus in the last few games has been on the top three of the Dolphins‚ the Titans and the Warriors‚ the central franchise have been quietly moving up the table and back-to-back wins from their last two games will put them in the knock-out stages at least.

The Sunfoil Series champions‚ who are placed fourth on the table‚ have beaten the Titans and the Cobras in their last two matches and will be looking for a third win on the bounce on Human Rights Day against the fifth placed Lions.

This week’s Momentum ODI Fixtures:

Tuesday: Knights vs Lions (De Beers Diamond Oval‚ 10am); Titans vs Warriors (Willowmoore Park‚ 10am)

Thursday: Warriors vs Lions (St George`s Park‚ 2pm); Dolphins vs Knights (Kingsmead‚ 2pm) - TMG Digital