Outrageous hitting by Aiden Markram and Junior Dala helped the Titans claim a spectacular two-wicket DLS victory over the top-of-the-table Warriors in their latest One-Day Cup clash in Benoni on Friday.
In a match heavily affected by the weather, the hosts were set a tough revised target of 182 off 21 overs at Willowmoore Park.
Proteas batsman Markram, who came into the match on the back of successive centuries, bashed six sixes and five fours in a 43-ball innings of 85 to single-handedly keep his side in the mix. When he fell with 52 runs to get off 29 balls – with only two wickets remaining – the result of the stop-start match appeared to be a formality for the visitors.
However, national teammate Dala had other ideas, and crunched an incredible 37 off 14 balls (his highest List A score), which included three sixes and three fours, to lead his side over the line with four balls to spare.
It sent the home side into delirium and shot them to the top of the standings. They also have a game in hand over the Warriors, who had previously held the top position on the table.
Earlier, the visitors posted 132 for four in 21 overs having won the toss and batting under dark and threatening skies on the East Rand. There were stoppages aplenty, including a delay for lightning as Matthew Breetzke (42), Gihahn Cloete (26) and captain Jon-Jon Smuts (29) offered the Eastern Cape franchise a strong start.
They reached 109 for one at one point, but wickets, and then the weather, prematurely ended their innings. With DLS altering the target heavily, the Titans needed something special to secure a fourth win in six matches.
Markram lacked support for most of the way, with Tony de Zorzi’s 12 the next-highest score prior to the former being dismissed.
It looked for all intents and purposes as if the Warriors would romp home to victory, but Dala – with support from Tshepo Moreki (19 not out off 15 balls) – rewrote the script to carve a spectacular victory.
The former tucked into the 19th over sent down by Andrew Birch, dispatching him for two sixes and three fours in a 25-run spree. That proved the game changer as the match-winning 55-run ninth-wicket partnership carried the Titans to victory.
Dala’s match-winning 37 came at the incredible strike rate of 264.28, with three fours and three sixes, and secured him the Player of the Match honours.
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images