Titans cruise past Lions
Centurion - Henry Davids and Jacques Rudolph thrashed their way to a 139-run partnership as the Titans thumped the Highveld Lions by seven wickets in their 1-Day Cup match at SuperSport Park here on Wednesday.
Davids and Rudolph’s opening stand, off just 17.5 overs, saw the Titans rocket to 258 for three in 34.4 overs in reply to the Lions’ 257 for seven.
The right-handed Davids was the star of the show as he blitzed his way to 81 off just 58 balls, after bringing up his half-century off 27 deliveries.
Davids helped himself to nine fours and four sixes and, in keeping with the tone of his innings, he reached his fifty by clipping a delivery from left-arm seamer Cliffe Deacon over wide long-on for six.
Rudolph, compared to Davids, was relatively becalmed, but he was almost as effective as he scored 54 off 52 balls as he warmed up for the upcoming Test series against Australia in fine fashion.
Davids eventually departed when he gloved a slower ball from medium-pacer Zander de Bruyn down the leg side to keeper Quinton de Kock while Rudolph bottom-edged a delivery from paceman Craig Alexander through to De Kock.
Davids and Rudolph fell in relatively quick succession, with their dismissals sandwiching that of Roelof van der Merwe (1), as the Titans slipped to 153 for three.
But Faf du Plessis and Martin van Jaarsveld revived the run-chase with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 105 off 86 deliveries.
Du Plessis was the initial aggressor as he ended not out on a run-a-ball 62 while Van Jaarsveld ended the match in style as he reached his fifty by slapping a delivery from left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso to end not out on 50 off 32 deliveries.
De Kock had earlier belied his lack of experience as his half-century helped rescue the Lions after they had crashed to 31 for three.
The 18-year-old De Kock, making his Lions’ debut, made light of the trouble that the majority of the Lions’ top-order found themselves in, in the face of a disciplined bowling and fielding performance from the Titans, as he soared to 83 off 86 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes.
Jean Symes picked up where De Kock left off by compiling an invaluable 70 not out off 74 balls.
The left-handed De Kock came to the wicket with his team struggling but his first scoring stroke was a cover drive for four off the bowling of seamer Ethy Mbhalati.
De Kock showed a maturity far beyond his cricketing years as he mixed caution with expansive strokeplay to reach his fifty off 45 balls and he shared in a substantial fourth-wicket partnership of 60 with Stephen Cook (44) to lift the Lions out of the mire.
Symes and De Kock then gave their team something to bowl at with a sixth-wicket stand of 63 before De Kock was run out after Symes played a delivery from leg-spinner Du Plessis to Rowan Richards at short third man.
The batsmen set off immediately from a very sharp single but, despite a desperate dive, De Kock could not beat an accurate throw from Richards which gave keeper Mangaliso Mosehle just enough time to whip the bails off.
De Kock was dismissed in the 41st over to leave the Lions on 183 for six but Symes picked up the cudgels as he brought up his fifty off 60 balls.
Titans - Jacques Rudolph, Henry Davids, Roelof van der Merwe, Faf du Plessis, Martin van Jaarsveld (capt), Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Morne Morkel, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati.
Highveld Lions - Gulam Bodi, Stephen Cook, Jonathan Vandiar, Neil McKenzie (capt), Zander de Bruyn, Jean Symes, Quinton de Kock (wk), Cliffe Deacon, Aaron Phangiso, Ethan O’Reilly, Craig Alexander.