Albie Morkel scored his first limited-overs century to crush the Cape Cobras and and secure the Momentum One-Day trophy for the Titans at Newlands on Friday night.
He was given magnificent support by Dean Elgar, who also scored a hundred, anchoring an innings that looked lost at 4-60, chasing a target of 286.
Morkel had played 192 List A matches without reaching the celebrated mark, but what a time to break the barrier. He slammed 134, with eight fours and seven sixes, off 102 balls, but without ever looking irresponsible. He was the ideal foil for Elgar, whose century in the qualifier broke the back of the Dolphins three days ago. It is worth remembering that the Titans were playing their fourth match in a week.
While they were never completely in control, they found a way of recovering from difficult positions. They pinned back the Cobras in the opening innings, but were still left with a run-rate of 5.72. And after Rory Kleinveldt and Sybrand Engelbrecht had destroyed the top order, the Titans were in a precarious position.
The record partnership of 195 off 186 balls broke the Cobras. That stand ended when Elgar holed out on the boundary for 100 on the dot, as he did in the qualifier, off 119 balls (3×4, 3×6) with 31 needed. That was enough, and Morkel took the Titans home and took the man of the match award.
In truth, the Cobras owed their total to Dane Vilas who finally stopped a slide into mediocrity with an impressive 40 off 25 balls, contributing the majority of the 58 runs scored in the last seven overs.
Until he took control, the Cobras were on the edge of an embarrassing choke, given that Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick put on 180 for the first wicket at almost a run a ball. Levi dominated that stand, hammering 104 off 113 balls, with 11 fours and a six, until he was lbw to the slow left-armer Tabraiz Shamsi. Then it went downhill rapidly, aided by two run-outs: first Justin Ontong went after scoring seven and then Puttick, with a solid 69 off 99, which included just four fours.
Henry Davids’ medium-pacers did for Stiaan van Zyl (9) and Omphile Ramela (10) in successive overs. At 227-5 with seven overs to go, the Cobras were pinned with a pitchfork. But Vilas stopped the rot, even though his partners came and went. He ended unbeaten on 40 off 25 balls (4×4, 1×6).
Another great contributor was the extras column, fourth-highest scorer with 34, including 19 wides.
It was a tough target, but the Titans lived up to their name.