by Erika Southey
11 December 2016
THE MULTIPLY Titans got their home final; beating the Warriors by six runs in a nail-biter of a clash at St George’s Park, Eastern Cape.
Well done to Farhaan Behardien for making the fastest 50 in a T20 Challenge.
At one stage it looked that rain would decide how the semi-final and final would play out. The Warriors led the log based on Nett Run Rate with the Titans in second place.
With just several minutes to match cut-off time, the weather turned in favour of a clash. It was all systems go; with the match reduced to five overs a side.
The Warriors won the toss and elected to field.
The Titans changed the batting order sending the experienced Heino Kuhn in to partner Jonathan Vandiar.
Andrew Birch and Basheer Walters meant business; dismissing Vandiar and Kuhn for a total of six runs in the first two overs. Vandiar (1) got run out by Birch off his own bowling and Kuhn (5) got clean bowled by Walters. The Titans were 9/2 after two overs.
With a rocky start and hard work ahead to put up a competitive score for the Warriors to chase – the lyrics of ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ by Emily Bowen started playing in my mind. The Warriors just fresh off two victories; of which one was against the Titans.
In walked Farhaan Behardien in an innings that swung the scoreboard in favour of the Titans. Behardien hit 55 off just 15 balls that included for fours and five sixes. The fastest 50 in a T20 challenge. His cool and calm demeanour combined with experience treated spectators to some great batting action.
Wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen (17 n.o) played a good supporting role; keeping Behardien on strike. The Titans finished their innings on 80/2.
This wasn’t going to be the proverbial slam dunk. True to their name the Warriors fought back.
Captain Jon-Jon Smuts hit six runs off the first ball of Lungi Ngidi.
Joined by Colin Ingram, they let loose and scored 19 runs off the first over. Smuts’s rampage continued in the second over against Junior Dala, but a slower ball from quick-thinker Dala found its way to the safe hands of Behardien.
Tabraiz Shamsi was to bowl the third over, but got replaced by skipper Albie Morkel. This due to Shamsi warming up on the field. This is not allowed and leaves a bowler with a 30 minute no-bowl penalty.
Pressure on; Ingram and Christiaan Jonker upped the scoreboard.
A consistent performer; David Wiese got the crucial breakthrough dismissing Ingram on 19 runs with Behardien taking his second catch of the night.
Malusi Siboto came in to bowl the last over. The pressure firmly on his shoulders, Siboto applied his usual calm and focus to see the Titans to a six run victory; giving the Gauteng-based team a home final at SuperSport Park on 16 December 2016.
The Warriors meet the BizhubHighveld Lions on 13 December 2016 to see who will face the Multiply Titans for the T20 Challenge showdown. Who will it be?