Champions League T20
Titans crush Auckland Aces
Titans celebrate (Gallo Images)
Durban - Seam bowlers Alfonso Thomas and Ethy Mbhalati took three wickets apiece as the Titans bagged their second straight win in the Champions League T20 tournament with a 59-run victory over Auckland Aces at Kingsmead on Wednesday.Full scorecard
Proteas opener Jacques Rudolph
also struck 63 off 56 balls to help South Africa’s domestic champions post 172/4 after Auckland won the toss and sent them in to bat.
Rudolph shared in an opening stand of 74 from 53 deliveries with Henry Davids (36 off 23 balls), while Farhaan Behardien
(48 off 23) added some much needed impetus towards the end.
The New Zealanders, unbeaten in three games so far, of which two were in the qualifying tournament, struggled in reply and were eventually all out for 113.
Thomas (three for 18) and Mbhalati (three for 26) ripped the heart out of the visiting top order and never allowed them to settle during their 18.1 overs in the middle.
Davids and Rudolph, who annihilated the Perth Scorchers attack in the first game, had little mercy on the New Zealanders at the start.
They began positively and reached 50 in the seventh over when Andre Adams was swung over square leg by Davids for the first six of the game.
Davids was out shortly after, though, bowled by a slower Azhar Mahmood yorker to end the partnership.
Ronnie Hira should have had a second wicket in the 12th over when Colin Munro misjudged an aerial shot from Martin van Jaarsveld at long-off. The skipper, however, lasted six more deliveries before holing out at deep midwicket, caught by Martin Guptill off Kyle Mills for 13.
Rudolph reached his half-century off 45 deliveries with a single, before perishing to a superb Adams catch off Michael Bates at extra cover.
Behardien then provided the final push, including 33 in the last two overs, as the Titans were bolstered at the death.
The Aces lost key openers Lou Vincent and Martin Guptill early in their chase, within the space of seven deliveries to Thomas and Mbhalati respectively, and they never recovered.
Andre Adams, who made 30, and Michael Bates, unbeaten on 14, did manage a record Champions League partnership of 45 for the 10th wicket, but it was not enough as Auckland slipped to a heavy defeat that allowed the Titans to move top of Group A.