Quinton de Kock kept his Proteas credentials in the spotlight as he ran up an outstanding 117 to haul the Titans out of trouble against the Cobras in their Sunfoil match in Benoni on Sunday.
In a determined partnership of 153 with Chris Morris, the Titans moved from 171-6 to 324-7 in 26 overs – a run rate of 5.8 – until the enigmatic keeper-batsman tried to force the pace once too often: two fours and out, off part-time left-arm spinner Simon Khomari. De Kock had entered the battle at 97-4 and he immediately took control. His 117 came off 133 balls, with 13 fours and three sixes.
The Titans, coming off a good win last week, were confident when they elected to bat against a struggling Cobras side. But 20 overs in, they were 43-3 as the Cobras struck hard. Thereafter they had to graft to get out of trouble as Theunis de Bruyn anchored the innings with 32 off 80 balls, while Farhaan Behardien applied the pressure with 35 off 35. But they were not completely clear when David Wiese went for 21, with the score then on 171-6.
De Kock played with measured aggression, and found a willing partner in Morris as they flayed a wilting attack, from which Lizaard Williams emerged with honour, taking 3-40 off 17 overs. The Titans were 344-7 at the close.
The Highveld Lions, another team coming off the back of a good win, also had to fight back from the brink of collapse, when they were 77-4 against the Warriors at the Wanderers, being bowled out for 291 just before the close.
They can thank their loan signing from the Titans, Qaasim Adams for that. He and Nicky van den Bergh (63 off 91 balls, 9×4) added 125 runs at a shade under four an over. Adams went on to 87 off 159 balls (13×4, 1×6), when he was lbw to off-spinner Simon Harmer, 13 runs short of what would have been his seventh first-class hundred.
The innings fell away after that, but at least it was a challenging target, if not insurmountable. The Warriors were 9-0.
The Knights continue to surprise. After a dismal run in the Ram Slam, and openly advertising for a coach to take over from the holding operation of Nicky Boje and Allan Donald, you would not have given them much of a chance.
But they thrashed the Cobras last weekend and on day one put the Dolphins under immense pressure in Kimberley on Sunday, holding them to 262-9 off 96 overs.
The Dolphins were reeling at 21-3, thanks to two wickets from Duanne Olivier, and then laboured through the day to 262-9, based on a heroic effort by Daryn Smit. He was unbeaten on 101, reaching his sixth first-class hundred after absorbing 192 balls, scoring 14 fours.
Earlier, David Miller looked good until he was undone by Shadley van Schalkwyk on 48, while Sibonela Makhanya (25) and Andile Phehlukwayo (32) offered some support in the lower order.