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Mashimbyi's Titans Below Par Season

 

Momentum Multiply Titans coach Mandla Mashimbyi has described the past season as below par for one of the country’s most successful franchises of recent years.

The Centurion-based outfit failed to qualify for a limited-overs play-off for the first time since 2006/07, although they only had one bite at the cherry because of the schedule not including a domestic T20 competition.

Nonetheless, missing out on the Momentum One-Day Cup top four was a major disappointment in an overall poor season by their high standards.

And Mashimbyi admits it was a poor year. “To be frank, I think we were probably below par,” he said. “We didn't play the way we would have liked to play.

“There were times where we would play good cricket, but we were nowhere near any sort of consistency. At other times we were just very poor.”

The last instance where the Titans missed out on limited-over play-offs altogether was 13 years ago when they ended fifth in the Domestic Pro20 and bottom of the MTN Domestic Championship table. They were, however, runners-up in the 4-Day Domestic Series this past term, ending a close second behind the champions Imperial Lions. That position could have been even better too had COVID-19 not struck prematurely to terminate the season in unprecedented circumstances.

Eventually the first-class season ended up having just eight matches instead of the usual 10.

But Mashimbyi felt they were just not good enough. “I know we finished second in one competition, but we scraped it to be honest, whilst in the other competition we ended fifth,” he explained. “In both the red and white-ball seasons there were times where we played good cricket, but there were more times when we were poor. So that’s my general take.”

The Titans were not helped by previous head coach Mark Boucher being taken away from them by the Standard Bank Proteas in early December.

That left long-time assistant Mashimbyi to step in. And despite the gloom, the 39-year-old did take some positives away from the campaign.

He continued: “There were some strong individual performances through the campaign, like Tony de Zorzi’s double in Cape Town, Aiden (Markram) on his comeback and Diego (Rosier) when he’s been called up.

“Then Dayyaan (Galiem) has been excellent with both bat and ball, the captain (Grant Thomson) as well playing important roles throughout, Dean Elgar throughout the white-ball campaign, so these are just some positives with the individual efforts that stand out for me.

“But I think when we sit back and take stock, we’ll see that we were not good enough as a unit.”

With the disappointment now in the past, the Titans, like all their rivals, have already moved to strengthen their squad for 2020/21.

They have already signed one of the most exciting young fast bowlers in the country in Thando Ntini. The son of the legendary Makhaya, joins fellow fast bowlers Okuhle Cele and Lizaad Williams, as well as middle-order batsman Sibonelo Makhanya as the new faces at Centurion.

“It’s important that the cracks are repaired and filled so that come next season we’re not dealing with the same issues,” Mashimbyi adds. “I’m looking forward to next season where we’ve made changes already and hopefully things will go much better for us.”