Faf sets up Titans victory
Cape Town - Faf du Plessis scored a scintillating ton to power the Nashua Titans to an emphatic 6-wicket victory against the log leaders, the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, in the domestic 1-Day Cup match at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.
Du Plessis slammed a superb undefeated 119 off 112 deliveries to chase down the 247 for eight scored by the Cobras with contemptuous ease.
He propelled the visitors to 248 for four in 42.4 overs.
Du Plessis featured in a 117-run partnership off 133 balls for the fourth wicket with Martin van Jaarsveld to resurrect the innings after three early blows by the swing bowler Charl Langeveldt.
They joined forces on 48 for three after 8.5 overs and powered the Titans to 166 before Van Jaarsveld departed.
Du Plessis and Farhaan Behardien continued the destruction after Van Jaarsveld was dismissed, and featured in an unbroken 83-run partnership off 76 deliveries for the fifth wicket.
Behardien finished with 36 off 41 balls, with four fours.
Du Plessis found the boundary ropes 14 times, and cleared it once.
He has been magnificent with the blade in the domestic 1-Day Cup, scoring 299 runs at an average of 99.66 in five matches before the Newlands-clash, but he was handed a reprieve by the Cobras.
He was dropped twice during his superb century.
Johann Louw dropped him at short fine leg off Rory Kleinveldt with his score on 25. It was essentially a half chance, but Louw just could not hold onto it.
With his score on 65, Du Plessis’s fierce drive off the spinner JP Duminy was spilled by Justin Ontong at short extra cover.
It was a sluggish Cobra-performance with bat and ball. Their top-order played several loose shots to put enormous pressure on their last recognised batsmen, Ontong and Robin Peterson.
Peterson obliged by scoring 78 off 110 balls, with seven fours, and featured in a 79-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ontong.
Langeveldt struck with the new ball to restrict the Titans to 48 for three after nine overs.
He removed Heino Kuhn in the first over of the innings for a duck with a beautiful out-swinger.
Roelof van der Merwe was used in the role of pinch hitter and seemed to get going with three quick fours.
But he perished in an attempt to accelerate the innings when his top-edged pull shot found the safe hands of Peterson at square leg and he was gone for 16.
Henry Davids drove too early at a slower Langeveldt-delivery and was well held by Ontong at extra cover for 18, leaving the Titans vulnerable on 48 for three after 8.5 overs.
Du Plessis and Van Jaarsveld restored the Titans' pride and were in the driver's seat before the reintroduction of Langeveldt.
In his second spell he induced a false shot from Van Jaarsveld, whose pull shot found the safe hands of Levi at square leg.
Van Jaarsveld scored 42 off 71 deliveries with four fours. With his departure, the Titans were reduced to 165 for four in the 31st over.
Langeveldt was the pick of the attack. He nipped out four batsmen and conceded 49 runs in his impressive nine overs.
Kleinveldt conceded 53 runs in eight overs, and Beuran Hendricks finished with 0 for 54 in 7.3 overs.
Earlier, Peterson and Ontong were the heroes with the bat for the hosts.
They joined forces on 88 for five after 13.5 overs. They set the Titans a reasonable target with a conservative batting approach that yielded 79 runs for the sixth wicket off 114 deliveries.
When Ontong became the victim of a poor pull shot off Du Plessis and was caught on the leg-side by the wicketkeeper, Kuhn, for 40 off 56 balls, with four fours, Peterson found a willing ally in Louw. These two added 38 runs off 56 balls for the eighth wicket.
Peterson and the lower order were circumspect and cautious in their approach, conscious of the fact that they might be bowled out with several overs still left.
Therefore theirs was not an ultra-attacking approach, but rather a more pedestrian one.
Richard Levi put Ethy Mbhalati to the sword early on, hitting three fours and four sixes in his swashbuckling 38 off only 16 balls. He propelled the Cobras to 44 after four overs.
Marchant de Lange then accounted for Andrew Puttick, bowling him for four. Then followed several soft dismissals by the top-order.
Levi attempted to drive Rowan Richards over midwicket but miscue it to mid-on, where he was caught by Mbhalati as the Cobras slipped to 49 for two.
JP Duminy recklessly chased a wide delivery from Hardus Viljoen and paid the price as the Cobras slipped to 82 for four with Duminy only contributing nine.
Viljoen, with two for 41 in ten overs, was the pick of the attack.
De Lange was almost equally impressive, as his one for 35 in ten overs indicate.