Centurion - The expected close derby MTN40 match between the Titans and the Lions at Supersport Park on Friday night came to nothing as the visitors from Johannesburg were beaten by 96 runs, thanks largely to a superb unbeaten 120 from Faf du Plessis.
Chasing an imposing 311 runs after the Titans had lost only four wickets in compiling 310 runs in their 40 overs, the Lions lost their first four wickets for just four runs in four overs with Stephen Cook falling to the first ball of the innings and slumped further to 5/5 and 10/6. Only a fighting and well-played unbeaten 109 by Zander de Bruyn saved the Lions from total ignominy.
It was a sad procession of Lions batsmen because of poor decision-making as much as good bowling on a wicket that earlier had seen scintillating batting from the Titans.
Ethy Mbhalati, like Morkel, took a wicket with his first ball when he removed Jonathan Vandiar, and he dismissed Neil Mckenzie two balls later. Morkel dismissed Jean Symes in his second over (4/4). Chris Morris lasted 12 balls for his duck on debut as Mbhalati took his third (5/5) and then CJ de Villiers, who was a little loose, got into the act by trapping Lions skipper Thami Tsolekile in front (10/6).
Zander de Bruyn and Werner Coetzer (68) gave the Lions score some respectability with a seventh-wicket partnership of 161 runs and proved that the pitch was as good as in the Titans innings. De Bruyn's 50 came off 54 balls and his century took only 93 balls and included 11 fours and a six.
The Titans batted at an average of 7,7 5runs per over, and centurion Faf du Plessis built on the good early work of captain Jacques Rudolph and Blake Snyman who put on 57 runs for the first wicket. With an unlucky Henry Davids seeing the ball trickle on to his stumps after facing only two balls, the Titans' scoring rate was temporarily held in check by two wickets in Robbie Frylinck's first over, both falling on 57 runs.
Then Man of the Match Du Plessis and Rudolph added 77 runs before Rudolph paid the price for lazy running. Du Plessis, who had impressed with the short singles, then took over the role as aggressor. Du Plessis reached his 50 in 50 balls and then took only a further 29 balls to reach his ton. His undefeated 120 runs included 11 fours and a six and came off 93 balls.
Farhaan Behardien accelerated to score his 51 in 37 balls with four fours and a six in his partnership with Du Plessis that yielded 115 runs off 74 balls, and Albie Morkel thashed his unbeaten 34 from 16 balls with two sixes and four fours.
B Snijman c McKenzie b Frylinck 23
J Rudolph run out (Tsolekile) 69
H Davids b Frylinck 0
F du Plessis not out 120
F Behardien c Symes b Burger 51
A Morkel not out 34
Extras (4b, 7lb, 2w) 13
Total (for 4 wickets) 310 -- 40 overs
Fall of wickets: 1-57, 2-57, 3-134, 4-249
De Wet 8-0-45-0, Matshikwe 6-0-60-0, Frylinck 8-1-61-1 (1w), Burger
4-0-34-1, Phangiso 7-0-46-0, Coetzee 6-0-40-0, Morris 1-0-13-0 (1w).
S Cook c & b Morkel 0
J Symes c Snijman b Morkel 1
J Vandiar c Kuhn b Mbhalati 2
N McKenzie c Wiese b Mbhalati 0
C Morris c Du Plessis b Mbhalati 0
Z de Bruyn not out 109
T Tsolekile lbw De Villiers 0
W Coetzee c Davids b Olivier 68
R Frylink b Du Plessis 5
S Burger run out 0
F de Wet b Du Plessis 9
Extras (6lb, 13w, 1nb) 20
Total (all out) 214 - 35.1 overs
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-3, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-10, 7-171, 8-185, 9-189
Morkel 3-0-5-3 (1w, 1nb), Mbhalati 8-2-22-3 (1w), CJ de Villiers
6-0-36-1 (4w), M Olivier 8-0-59-1 (2w), R van der Merwe 6-0-39-0, D
Wiese 2-0-21-0, Du Plessis. 3.1-0-26-2 (3w)
Result: Titans won by 96 runs. Man of the match: Faf du Plessis