The Titans held their nerve to defend 155 and beat the Warriors by six runs, retaining the T20 Challenge title, at Centurion.
In a thrilling match which swung radically, mostly on the performances of the bowlers, Tabraiz Shamsi took vital wickets at important times to cut the Warriors’ chase short.
It was he who stopped at burdgeoning partnership between Colin Ackermann and Christiaan Jonker, who put on 48 runs after the Warriors had lost three wickets in the powerplay for 43 runs. Jonker was caught on the sweep immediately after being dropped on 33, and Shamsi followed that up by dismissing Qaasim Adams (17), which put the Warriors back in the mire at 125-5 with four overs to go.
Then Lungi Ngidi stepped up to send back Ackermann for 34, his second wicket after claiming Colin Ingram (12) in the powerplay; two very important strikes. All their bowlers stepped up after Albie Morkel retired hurt after bowling just five balls of the first over.
It had all looked so good for the Warriors, after they put the Titans in to bat and restricted them to 155-8. It would have been even better but for Sisanda Magala conceding 19 off the final over.
Within the powerplay, the Warriors were guilty of a few sloppy moments in the field, but there was nothing sloppy about the dismissal of Heinrich Klaasen, who smashed Colin Ingram to the long-on boundary. Colin Ackermann took the catch on the run and just as he crossed the ropes, he tossed it up to the supporting Adams. Klaasen c Adams b Ingram does not tell the true story.
That reduced to the Titans to 67-2 after a brisk start, in which they piled up 47 runs in the powerplay, for the loss of Jonathan Vandiar, (10) well caught on the boundary off Basheeru-Deen Walters.
The taking of Klaasen for 19 off 15 balls seemed a pivotal moment as the Warriors, particularly the slow bowlers, applied a stranglehold and restricted the Titans batting. Aiden Markram followed soon after for 33 off 25, and just as Heino Kuhn and Morkel looked to be raising the pace, Kuhn was run out for 17.
By the end of the 15th over, when the Titans needed to accelerate, they were 109-4. Farhaan Behardien, who through this campaign had been a spearhead of the Titans batting, went for 11 and with him the firepower.
It took a disastrous last over from Sisanda Magala, who conceded 19 runs, thanks to two wides, a free hit and two fours, to get the Titans above 150. That really messed up his figures, from 21 off three, he ended with 40 off four.
Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images