Tabraiz Shamsi’s four-for saw the Warriors skittled out for 143, before AB de Villiers and Aiden Markram’s half-centuries sent the Titans into the Ram Slam final.
As expected, it was a dominant performance from the Titans who reached a consecutive Ram Slam T20 Challenge final with an eight-wicket win in Centurion. It was a lethal bowling display followed by a destructive 101-run third-wicket partnership as the Warriors crumbled.
Electing to bowl first, the Titans’ opening bowlers picked off the Warriors’ opening pair for 17 runs. Albie Morkel removed Wayne Parnell’s middle stump and he then took a simple catch after Lungi Ngidi’s slow delivery fooled Jon-Jon Smuts.
Colin Ingram brought the Warriors back into the game by smashing five fours and two sixes for his 28-ball 41, but he reached for a wide Markram delivery and was caught at backward point as the visitors were three down for 80 runs.
The East London side managed to take the total to 119 thanks to Colin Ackermann, until a magnificent match-turning spell from Shamsi.
The left-arm chinaman bowler extended his dominance at the top of the wickets tally to 16 scalps, with his best T20 Challenge figures, taking 4-32 in his four overs.
His double strike in the 14th over removed the dangerous combination of Christiaan Jonker (15) and Ackermann (48 off 31 balls), and he backed this up with a brace in his final over, taking out Gihan Cloete (6) and Lesiba Ngoepe (0) to rattle the hosts at 134-7 in 16 overs.
It was all downhill from there, as wickets continued to tumble. Two scalps from Junior Dala and one from Chris Morris wrapped things up as the Warriors were dismissed for 143.
The Titans suffered a slight blow in the pre-match warm-up with an injury to their senior opener Henry Davids who popped his knee, bringing Markram up the order with Quinton de Kock.
De Kock’s poor form in the tournament continued, as he tried to clear Smuts at mid-wicket, but Warriors captain Simon Harmer leapt up to take a sensational one-handed catch to send him packing on one.
Davids’ replacement, Heinrich Klaasen (24 off 14 balls), played a hand in his side’s chase, but his eagerness got the better of him, catching a Parnell delivery on the bottom of his bat, pulling it straight to Jerry Nqolo on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
De Villers took three balls to settle in and smashed consecutive sixes to get off the mark. The Proteas superstar was outstanding in his charge, smacking four sixes and two fours for his 36-ball 54. Markram matched his senior partner and finished on 56 off off 38 balls (five fours, three sixes) as the Titans gobbled up the target with 28 balls to spare.
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