The Titans booked a second Momentum One-Day Cup final date with the Nashua Cape Cobras in as many seasons after they beat the Dolphins by 58 runs in Tuesday’s play-off at Kingsmead in Durban.
On a gritty pitch that generally forced the batsmen to work hard for their runs, Dean Elgar showed serious graft in compiling his 100 from 130 balls before David Wiese bucked the trend and made batting look easy with an unbeaten 71 from 33 balls that carried the Titans to a total of 267 for six.
Wiese’s innings also knocked the wind out of the Dolphins’ sails, and their reply was an ongoing struggle after they had fallen to 52 for four.
Khaya Zondo fought hard to haul the Dolphins back into the game, but his dismissal for 72 brought the end of their challenge and they finished up on 209 all out after 44.3 overs.
Last season the Titans were denied a crack at the Cobras when rain forced the final to be abandoned and the trophy to be shared, but on Friday the two sides will have the chance to claim the spoils outright with fair weather forecast for Cape Town.
The Dolphins made the perfect start when they reduced the Titans to eight for two, with the decision to open with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj paying dividends.
After Jacques Rudolph (39) and Elgar pulled things back for the visitors, Maharaj (3 for 50) struck twice more to leave the innings delicately poised at 104 for four.
But Elgar stood firm, and added 55 for the fifth wicket with Albie Morkel and then 92 for the sixth with Wiese, who survived an early drop before making his fortune count.
His whirlwind knock allowed the Titans to add 106 runs in the last nine overs – even as Elgar fell one ball after reaching his ton – which ultimately made the difference.
The Dolphins were hamstrung by Ryan McLaren succumbing to injury in the process of bowling his fourth over, which stretched their bowling stocks and also prevented the all-rounder from batting any higher than No. 9.
Such a demanding total on a tricky surface made a recovery difficult for the hosts after their early slump, and they came up against two seamers in inspired form.
Juan de Villiers picked up 3 for 34 in nine overs – including the wicket of Zondo with a well-directed short ball – while Junior Dala grabbed two of the early wickets and finished with figures of 3 for 35.
An added bonus for the Titans was that Morkel recovered from a niggle picked up in a previous match, and although he was unable to bowl at full pace, he managed to get through 9.3 overs and took 3 for 33, including the last two wickets to fall.