Albie Morkel’s 81 and a brilliant bowling display kept the Titans rolling on with a 32-run win over the Highveld Lions in the Momentum One-Day Cup match at the Wanderers.
Coach Mark Boucher has talked about focus after the holiday lay-off, but this was laser in execution. Fresh from retaining their T20 title, the Pretorian Guard presented the Lions with a challenging target of 265 to win, based on Morkel’s 81 off 82 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.
He was backed by a solid 68 off 79 balls from Andrea Agathangelou, who scored 40 of those with boundaries.
Agathangelou doesn’t get much opportunity at the Titans, more often playing the anchor role for the Northerns, but when he does, he makes it count. In the eKasi Challenge in September he scored 64 off 61 balls: in this match he went one better as he and Heino Kuhn (23) put on 43 for the first wicket. He provided support for Heinrich Klassen (31) in a third-wicket stand of 55, and when he fell, just at the halfway mark, the Titans had a firm base of 140-4.
Morkel then took control, playing a measured innings at just under a run a ball as the Titans powered to 248-5 after 45 overs, aided in no small way by some rank poor fielding by the Lions. At which point the wheels came off, and five wickets fell for 16 runs, of which Beuran Hendricks took three to go with his two earlier in the innings, ending with 5-49 off nine overs. The Titans will not be pleased they did not bat out their overs, after they were bowled out in 47.3 overs.
It could have been a spark of hope for the Lions, facing a challenging but not impossible 5.5 runs an over.
They did not get off to a great start, with Stephen Cook (11) being run out and Malusi Siboto taking out Reeza Hendricks (11), but the real damage was done when left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (again) stepped up to get Dominic Hendricks (24) stumped and trapping Omphile Ramela lbw for 30, just as they were getting set. Shamsi bowled six overs in his first spell, taking two wickets for 22. That strangled the Lions and by the halfway mark they had 105 runs and the run rate had climbed to 6.5 an over.
The pacemen picked up the vibe and despite the best efforts of Dwaine Pretorius (33) and Rassie van der Dussen, who put on 60 for the fifth wicket, the lifeblood of runs was drained away. It was Shamsi who broke that partnership in the first over of his second spell, and by the time he had finished his 10 overs, he had 3-40 and not one boundary had been scored off him.
Siboto ended Van der Dussen’s brave stand, one run shy of his fifty off 64 balls, and that was that. Junior Dala cleaned up the tail to end with 3-64.
In that innings, the Lions scored just 18 fours, four of which were hammered by Bjorn Fortuin in the 47th over, and one six. The Titans worked 23 fours and seven sixes. Enough said.
Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix