Centurion - The Titans overwhelmed Australian side Perth Scorchers with an all-round performance as they won their first group game of the Twenty20 Champions League by 39 runs at a packed and sunny SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.
Eden Links bowled a tight first over which set the tone as the Titans kept Scorchers openers Shaun Marsh and former Protea Herschelle Gibbs quiet as they could only rotate the strike.
The pressure told as Marsh nicked off to Titans captain Martin van Jaarsveld for 7 from a CJ de Villiers delivery. De Villiers got the Scorchers captain Marcus North two balls later as an inside edge rolled onto the stumps.
Simon Katich joined Gibbs as the duo attempted to resurrect the Scorchers innings, with Gibbs pulling Mbhalati over cow corner for six as they reached 27/2 in 5 overs. Their struggles continued however as Thomas claimed the big wicket of Gibbs for 17, when he skied a delivery caught by Titans keeper Heino Kuhn.
Van Jaarsveld dropped Mitchell Marsh on one off a Mbhalati edge, as the Scorchers reached the halfway stage 54/3 well behind the required run rate.
Roelf van der Merwe’s introduction kept the pressure on as the Scorchers needed almost two runs a ball by the end of the eleventh over. Links then snaffled a difficult return chance from Katich to reduce the Australians to 60/4.
Wickets continued to fall before some brief respite came from Marsh, who hit Links in his last over onto the SuperSport Park roof for six, and three other boundaries, to give the Scorchers the slimmest of chances.
However it could not change the ultimate result as further wickets fell, with De Villiers recording excellent figures of 3 for 16 in four overs, and the Scorchers ended on 124/7, with Marsh unbeaten on 52.
The day started out with the Titans being put in to bat on their home ground.
Rudolph got the Titans innings off to a brisk start with 11 runs from the first over, with the Centurion franchise reaching 39 after 5 overs. Davids greeted Mitchell Marsh’s first two deliveries with a six and four, as the Titans upped the scoring rate, reaching 50 in 34 balls.
Runs kept coming as Davids and Rudolph reached their fifties in 36 balls each, before Davids was bowled by Beer for 54 to give the Scorchers hope.
The scoring rate slowed as Van Jaarsveld consolidated before he launched Beer’s second last delivery for six over the covers. Rudolph began the Titans’ assault in the last five overs with a six and four off Hogg’s final over. Rudolph then struck Marsh for three boundaries, bringing up the Titans’ 150 in 106 balls.
Van Jaarveld and Rudolph brought up their 50 partnership in 38 balls before Van Jaarsveld was caught by Scorchers skipper Marcus North off Joe Mennie for 19 in the penultimate over.
Nathan Rimmington, the pick of the Scorcher bowlers with two for 20 in his four overs, dismissed both Farhaan Behardien and David Wiese for 0, while Rudolph looked on as the Titans’ innings ended on 163 for four.