Dean Elgar’s composed half-century calmed the nerves of the Titans and set them on their way to a crucial six-wicket One-Day Cup win over the Cape Cobras in Benoni on Wednesday.
Needing to win the game to keep destiny in their own hands, the defending champions did just that at Willowmoore Park thanks to their Test opener, who struck an unbeaten 61 (58 balls, 7 fours) batting at No 4.
That helped them steadily chase down a 165-run target in a match reduced to 32 overs per side on account of the weather on the Highveld.
Two wickets apiece by Dayyaan Galiem and Imraan Manack – both claiming 2-25 – also played an important role in the game as the visitors’ slim chance of reaching the playoffs ended.
The bottom-of-the-table Cape team needed to win their remaining two games and hope other results went their way, but this latest defeat in round nine means that Saturday’s clash with the Warriors is a dead rubber – for them anyway.
For the Titans, victory in their penultimate match makes their round- 10 fixture against the Knights in Centurion on Sunday an effective quarter-final, with the winner earning a place in next week’s semi-finals.
In their latest game, however, Mandla Mashimbyi’s side were too good for the Cobras.
After winning the toss and opting to bowl, they had them at their feet on 25-3 inside the opening 30 minutes thanks to Galiem’s excellent opening burst.
Even though Pieter Malan (67 off 79 balls, 8 fours) kept the scoreboard ticking, there was little in terms of support.
When the South Africa batsman eventually fell, Ashwell Prince’s side looked like they might even be bowled out at 129-6.
But some late hitting by loanee Mangaliso Mosehle (29) added to the inclement weather to eat up some time, before the innings prematurely closed on 164-7.
The Titans wobbled a bit early on losing Aiden Markram (7), Rivaldo Moonsamy (17) and Tony de Zorzi (22) relatively cheaply to fall to 53-3 – Dane Piedt bagging 2-23.
But captain Grant Thomson (19) added 50 alongside Elgar for the fourth wicket, before Farhaan Behardien (33 not out) helped complete the job with a stand that yielded 66.
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