Champions League T20
Titans routed by Kolkata
Lakshmipathy Balaji (Getty Images)
Cape Town - The hitherto unbeaten Titans crashed to a whopping 99-run defeat at the hands of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Champions League Twenty20 Group A match at Newlands on Sunday.
In the process, Kolkata scored their first win of the tournament, and halted the Titans' charge for a semi-final slot.
The Titans play group log-leaders Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, where they will know their semi-final prospects.
On a slow-paced Newlands wicket, the target of 189 presented the Titans with a formidable challenge and they never looked equal to the task.
After nine overs, the Titans had managed to pass the 50-run mark but for the loss of four wickets, three of which fell in the space of four balls.
This spate of setbacks left the Titans requiring about 13 runs an over, with KKR paceman Lakshmipathy Balaji the main reason for the damage as he claimed 4 for 14 in his first three overs.
Brett Lee created the initial pressure in the field for KKR as he conceded a mere five runs in his two overs.
Thirteen overs into the Titans innings, the required run-rate passed the 16 mark, and although the Centurion-based franchise were heading towards defeat, it was vital they improve their net run-rate by lasting 20 overs.
However, the Titans failed to last the distance as they suffered a collapse towards the end of the innings, losing their last three wickets in the space of eight balls.
Balaji finished with an excellent four wickets for 19 runs with an economy rate of under five runs an over after four overs.
After being sent in to bat, three prolific batting partnerships provided the KKR with the platform to record 188 for five, the highest total scored in the tournament thus far.
Upfront, opener Manvinder Bisla smashed a quick-fire 27 off 14 balls in a 32-run first wicket stand with Gautam Gambhir.
With the departure of Bisla, Brendon McCullum cracked a 20-ball 36 runs in a 60-run second wicket partnership with Gambhir.
Both partnerships produced more than 11 runs an over.
While Gambhir and Jacques Kallis
were unable to maintain the tempo, the death overs saw Debabrata Das smash an undefeated 43 off 19 balls and Manoj Tiwary contribute 13 unbeaten runs as the pair enjoyed a sixth wicket stand of 55 at more than 12 runs an over.
Combative left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe was the Titans' most successful and economical bowler, picking up two wickets for 18 run in his four overs.
Titans: Martin van Jaarsveld (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Cornelius de Villiers, Paul Harris, Heino Kuhn, Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Mangaliso Mosehle, Rowan Richards, Jacques Rudolph, Alfonso Thomas, Roelof van der Merwe and David Wiese.
KKR: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Lakshmipathy Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Manvinder Bisla, Debabrata Das, Iqbal Abdulla, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate and Manoj Tiwary.