The Titans thrashed the Cobras by six wickets to top the group and secure a One Day Cup final in Centurion.
No, it wasn’t Ab de Villiers who did the damage. The Proteas skipper scored a second-ball duck, and left it to the new-ball bowlers and the opening batsmen to do the job.
The Titans went into this match four points clear at the top, so a win would simply keep them there, just like a defeat would keep the Cobras rooted to the bottom. Ashwell Prince’s men will take wooden-spoon honours this year. The Titans await the winner of Sunday’s qualifier, before doing battle at SuperSport Park next Friday.
Chris Morris was Man of the Match in their thumping seven-wicket win over the Warriors mid-week, and he could well have got it in this match too, for his opening spell, with Lungi Ngidi at the other end, saw the Cobras collapse to 30-4. Morris finished with figures of 1-21 from eight overs, while Ngidi was in sublime form as he was a couple of days previously, backing up his 3-32 with 2-20 from his eight overs, including two maidens.
The middle-order repaired some damage with Dane Vilas providing a 41-ball 42 and Aviwe Mgijima offering a steady 52 from 96 deliveries, but the Titans boasted an embarrassing wealth of bowling options. Junior Dala finished 2-33, while Tabraiz Shamsi critically saw off both Vilas and Mgijima to finish with 2-53. The Cobras were castled for 184.
The response was crushing from the hosts, as Jonathan Vandiar and Aiden Markram piled on a 75-run stand inside 12 overs, before the latter departed one short of his half-century thanks to Eddie Leie.
Leie gave his side hope with a blitz of a three-over spell, seeing off Heino Kuhn for 19, before taking a catch off his own balling to see De Villiers fall two balls later. With AB gone, the Cobras thought they were in with a shout.
They forgot, though, that they had another Protea to deal with. Farhaan Behardien has proven an excellent finisher this season, and he lived up to that yet again, as he built up an 81-run partnership with Vandiar. The opener would have been frustrated to have departed with just four more runs needed for 72, but at least the damage was done. Behardien finished unbeaten on 29, as skipper Albie Morkel smacked a boundary to complete the rout.
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