by Erika Southey
THE MULTIPLY Titans set the highest score ever made at SuperSport Park in a T20 Challenge; beating the BizhubHighveld Lions by 46 runs.
The Lions won the toss and elected to bowl.
The Titans had their work cut out; to ensure they get a shot at a home final. The drawn match and, two consecutive losses took them from a comfortable lead to a 1 point difference to the Warriors on the CSA T20 Challenge log.
Opening the bowling for the BizhubHighveld Lions was Hardus Viljoen. The first over didn’t go well with 11 extras being bowled.
Jonathan Vandiar and Aiden Markram started laying a good foundation with a partnership of 71; before Markram went after the ball off the bowling of Aaron Phangiso and got caught out by Matt McGillivray on 27 runs.
A dropped catch on Vandiar, saw him increase his innings that included six fours and three sixes giving him a total of 67 runs, before he was dismissed by Matt McGillivray.
Afterwards, Vandiar said: “the game plan was good, but the execution not”: in reference to the Titans’s fielding.
After the 12th over, the Titans were on 117/2 after losing the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen (28) who got caught and bowled by Aaron Phangiso.
Heino Kuhn made 29 off just eleven balls that included one four and three sixes. After two great shots Kuhn went for a slower ball by Eddie Leie that got caught by Bjorn Fortuin. What happened? “I batted low on the pole and got lots of height, but less distance” said a disappointed Kuhn.
Viljoen recovered from his expensive first over and got the wicket of Titans’s skipper Albie Morkel on 32 runs off 17 balls. Instrumental in this coveted wicket was Temba Bavuma catching the ball. Viljoen’s bowling innings was one of the best with good economy; taking one wicket in his four allotted overs conceding 47 runs. After the fall of Morkel’s wicket, the Titans were 206/5.
Disaster struck for the Lions; when McGillivray had to leave the field due to injuring his hand after catching a ball. Fortuin stepped in to complete McGillivray’s over.
Great batting by Farhaan Behardien and David Wiese took the Titans to 230/5. A tough score to chase.
After a break the BizhubHighveld Lions took to the crease with openers Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks. A dangerous duo if you don’t get them out quickly.
Van der Dussen hit 14 off the bowling of Morkel and the pair continued to increase their tally to 24 runs in the second over bowled by Wiese.
Two dropped catches in the third over gave Van Dussen and Hendricks a second chance. They capitalized on the poor fielding of the Titans and upped their tally to 36 runs.
Junior Dala off his expensive third over struck back and dismissed Van Der Dussen in the fourth over. Van Der Dussen drew some blood making his 45 runs off just 18 balls that included three fours and 4 sixes.
Over seven saw a fiery Malusi Siboto dismissing Mangaliso Mosehle for 11 runs. In his next over Siboto took both the wickets of Hendricks on 24 and Dwaine Pretorius.on 12.
Malusi Siboto reached his 50 wickets in a T20 Challenge milestone. Well done Siboto!
What was his approach for this crucial match? “I controlled what I could and told myself to be calm. The rest will take of itself”: I told myself said Siboto. He said that it also helped that he bowled from the shorter side of the boundary.
Reaching the halfway mark; the Lions were 105/4 whereas the Titans were 88/1.
Lungi Ngidi had a frustrating 13th over when a catch was dropped off the batting of Nicky van den Bergh. Ngidi’s persistence paid off in the 15th over when he bowled Van Den Bergh with Behardien catching the ball. With the fall of early wickets the task of reaching 231 became impossible.
Temba Bavuma stuck around for 33 runs before he departed off the bowling of Wiese with the ball reaching the hands of Kuhn. Kuhn had a good match with both bat and fielding taking two catches and preventing some boundaries.
Dala made a clean sweep of Fortuin bowling a faster ball that found its way to the hands of Morkel, dismissing Fortuin for a duck.
On his thoughts how the match went: “We had a good game plan, but the execution was bad”. This in reference to the poor fielding. Several dropped catches and some sloppy fielding almost put the Titans on the back-foot. The Titans recovered with economic bowling and getting crucial wickets.
Phangiso managed to add a six to the board before the game ended.
The Lions put up a good fight, but as Reeza Hendricks said: “the batting was good, but we lost wickets at crucial times”.
A similar sentiment echoed by Mangaliso Mosehle: “I think we lost too many wickets due too risky shots”. “We were under pressure” he added.
Hot off his test tour against Australia; Temba Bavuma made the second highest score in this match. “My biggest role was to support the other batsmen”: he said. “We had momentum and a good platform” he added. He also joined Hendricks and Mosehle that there were just not enough wickets in hand to challenge.
The Titans also earned a bonus point that puts them two points ahead of the Warriors.
There were mixed emotions in the Titans camp. A great win through batting and bowling with fielding as the weak link.
Skipper Albie Morkel’s thoughts after the match: “This was the best performance in a long time. The pitch was very good, but the fielding was bad and disappointing.” Adding: “the fielding took the wind out of our sails”.
Head Coach Mark Boucher was clear on what he thought: “We batted and bowled well” he said. However, “this is not our standard”: he said ascribing it to the lack of “safe hands” and “bad fielding” positions. He said that some of the catches were difficult.
Asking if he could point to anything specific, he had this to say: “It’s difficult to put a finger on it” and that “fielding is the Titans’s pride”.
“Our practice session yesterday, went well. Perhaps the balls went further than expected” he concluded.
Regarding taking on the Warriors next on their home ground; Boucher smiled and said: “This is going to be tight on who is going to win. The Warriors are on form.”
Many a fan are waiting with baited breath for the big showdown between the Titans and Warriors. Who is going to go through to the final?
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