Henry Davids and Qaasim Adams put the brakes on a Lions push for victory in their crucial Sunfoil match at Centurion on Friday.
In a match which the Highveld Lions must win if they are to offer a challenge to the Titans’ title charge, the home pair stopped the rot in an unbeaten partnership of 85 for the fifth wicket.
The Lions resumed their innings at 411-7 and pushed on to 609 all out, smashing 189 in 37 overs on Friday. That rampage was led by No 8 batsman Bjorn Fortuin, who hammered his first hundred at the franchise level, moving from 69 overnight to 116 off 158 balls (15×4, 2×6).
He was well supported by Hardus Viljoen (72 off 78), Nono Pongolo (39 off 41), Pumelela Matshikwe (30 off 37) and Mr Extras (30).
After the debris was cleared, spinner Tabraiz Shamsi emerged with 5-183 off an incredible 39.2 overs, while Marchant de Lange picked up 4-143.
The plan to bowl the Titans out twice was going well when the Titans top order folded, but Davids (49) and Adams (45) threw up a defensive wall. The Titans ended on 140-4, still 469 behind.
At least the Titans don’t have to worry about the threat from the Knights, who started this round of matches in second place on the log, almost 12 points behind and also needing a win.
They were humiliated by the bottom-of-the-log Warriors in Kimberley, being bowled out for 131 in their second innings. The Warriors needed 95 to win, which they ran off in 17 overs for the loss of one wicket.
The Warriors’ right-arm seamer Anrich Nortje, in 18th first-class match, and his first at this level, took 5-34 off 10 overs, backed by Sisanda Magala (3-28).
It must be of some concern that 31 wickets fell for 483 runs in just two days.
Down in Cape Town, the Cobras laboured their way to a score of 252 0ff 89 overs, which gives them a lead of 69 over the Dolphins. They owe their healthy position to a sterling effort by Dane Vilas, who scored a breezy 80 of 98 balls (11×4, 1×6), taking the Cobras from 99-5 to 200-6.
Wayne Parnell, the seven-wicket hero of the bowling attack which restricted the Dolphins to 183, weighed in with a useful 31 in a much more sedate innings, fending off 81 deliveries.
Craig Alexander, who shone with the bat in the dismal Dolphins innings (54), came to the fore again with 5-62, admirably assisted by Rabian Engelbrecht (3-60).